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Red Spektor - Red Spektor

Red Spektor
Red Spektor
by Myhr at 04 December 2016, 1:58 PM

RED SPEKTOR are a Psychedelic Blues Rock trio from Stoke-On-Trent that play a decidedly vintage sounding brand of rock music that really wouldn’t sound out of place blasting from the Black Sabbath tour bus back in ’71. While I am not normally privy to the sounds of Blues, Stoner or Psychedelic, I was very pleasantly surprised by this album. There’s a very groovy yet crisp feeling to this album, and its overall rather well produced, the drums sound being particularly nice, the right blend of punchy and openly realistic. The whole album is packed with groovy and catchy riffs, that really do draw you in into a nice listening experience. Before The Sunrise is a great opener that swells from guitar feedback and galloping drums into a dense, groovy, verse and catchy chorus with some nice atmospheric, distant vocals floating between the guitars. The next track “Pagan Queen” begins with a very catchy, bouncy guitar riff then punches into another groovy, heavy song. Its particularly good and the little melodic guitar ‘flourishes’ in the chorus do stand out as a memorable part. The solo is also not overtly exuberant or forced and fits nicely into the song just where it’s supposed to.

The third track Timeless Requiem is another great song, good riffs, catchy chorus, if ones were to define a base level to the style of songs on the album this would fit as pretty nice example. “Cosmonaut” sees bass take on the brunt of the song, hammering out a smooth bouncing base that lets the guitar free to pick up a majestic, bluesy lead that rises up and down as it meanders between the verses and choruses. “Elixir” is a song that really showcases RED SPEKTOR’s ability to create dynamic contrast. There’s bold, loud guitars in the chorus and the melodic sections that beautifully fade into drawn out hazy verses with the murky bass and drums just gently swinging underneath the light vocals before hammering into the blocks of the chorus.

 Into the Maelstrom has a little bit of a different approach and could be described as the closest thing on the album to a ballad whilst still retaining the dark dense sound on the rest of the songs. The first 2 and a half min feature rather sparse drums, and focus mainly on the guitar and modulated vocals, with the occasional cymbal swell or tom roll swelling as song progresses into different parts. As a whole it has a quite reserved and tentative feeling which is a nice from the bombastic, noisy, grooves so far. The next two songs “Fields Of Fire” and “Torpedo Head” go back to the tried and tested recipe of dense catchy grooves and melodic soliloquies over the so satisfyingly analogue drums they’ve done so well with on this album. Which are really showcased and allowed out to shine in “Torpedo Head” particularly.

“Black moon rising” has different feel to it, being a bit of a faster song that has a really great swing to it and this interesting, resonant underlying guitar in the verse and some heavy delay that does some strange and curious things to the guitar solo before the breakdown section. Also, the last chorus on this song just slightly pushes onto the edgy of the epic, which is an unexpected but pleasant idea. The ending to this song is very humorous as well. The last song, “Lost soul” is another surprise, being an acoustic song borrowing heavily from folk music with layered, melancholic, crooning vocals and an underlying repetitive drum beat throughout. Turns out to be an unexpected gem on the album.

All in all, this album surprised me quite a lot. At first by just being so listenable and open but then by actually in the way the songs are composed and out together. The production was also no mean feat for a self-release, not only for the great drum production but also for managing to get a stoner rock guitar tone I find actually listenable. The vocals are nice and fit with the style so well, all the melodies and lead parts come out at the right moments and the entire thing feels really well put together like belongs. The fact it is recorded straight to tape does well to bring out the old school analogue vibe of the music in the actual sound of the recordings as well. Also the cover art is pretty cool.

As I said at the beginning, aside from maybe occasionally jamming a bit of BLACK SABBATH when I’m in the mood, the whole Bluey, Stoner, Psychedelic rock thing has passed me by and I’ve been OK with that. However, if this album is a pleasant surprise, and if you’re someone like me looking to see what all the fuss is about, or just wanting to try something you wouldn’t normally listen to I’d definitely say give this a shot. It didn’t take long for me to get into it and whilst its make not something I can see myself adding this to my ‘regular’ listening roster, I can definitely imagine revisiting this album again in the future.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 5
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

1. Before The Sunrise
2. Pagan Queen
3. Timeless Requiem
4. Cosmonaut
5. Elixir
6. Into The Maelstrom
7. Fields Of Fire
8. Torpedo Head
9. Black Moon Rising
10. Lost Soul
John Scane – Guitar
Darren Bowen – Drums
Rob Farrell – Bass
Record Label: Stoke-On-Trent Records


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Edited 23 March 2023

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