Review of Split 7" EP by Spectrals

Review of Fair Ohs and Spectrals Split 7" released through Tough Love Records.

Spectrals Split 7

Forget CDs, MP3s or digitally enhanced downloads, the kids want their vinyl fix and thanks to cottage industry labels such as London's Tough Love, they're getting more than their fair share of quality plastic grooves.

Take this four-song seven inch for example, a 50-50 split between fellow capital-based three-piece Fair Ohs and Leeds one-man band Spectrals. Even down to the hand-printed and plastic wrapped bag its housed in there's a real DIY ethos to the whole packaging, while the music contained within is as far away from the broadsheets and daytime radio's perception of independent music as is ever likely to envisage.

The two Fair Ohs contributions, 'Hey Lizzy' and 'Himalayas', both revel in the band's now trademark metamorphosis of African rhythms and punk rock urgency, the latter sounding like Vampire Weekend covering Adam And The Ants' 'Whip In My Valise', while its sister perseveres more along the three chord highway straight to Zeke Manyika's garage. While not as immediate as previous single 'Summer Lake', its still a finely tuned example of one of the UK underground scene's leading lights, and if further evidence were needed of Fair Ohs impending greatness, go check them out live. Now.

Spectrals on the other hand live in a world where Eddie Cochran and James Dean live happily side-by-side, Phil Spector combines his role as Wall of Sound orchestra with that of chairman for the Anti-Gun Movement and the Jesus And Mary Chain still gouge themselves silly on amphetamine psychocandy.

Both 'Birthday Kiss' and 'Keep Your Magic Out Of My House' are long-standing staples of Louis Jones et al's live set, and in keeping with their stripped to the bone approach, offer a more skewered take on Spectrals 1950s inspired pop via C86's ramshackle aesthetic.

Overall, this 45 is a sterling representation of the UK's burgeoning underground music scene, and while your average major label A&R man probably won't understand what all the fuss is about, those pesky kids know a good thing when they hear one and with four excellent cuts to choose from here, what could possibly go wrong?

Dom Gourlay

Fair Ohs Myspace -

Spectrals Myspace -