Spectres Look Back in Black on Dark Wave Reverie, Nostalgia

Photo: Lindsay Wallace

Arrayed with a gloomy presence and an eerie sound that could be ripped right out of British music weeklies like Melody Maker and New Musical Express, Vancouver’s Spectres have been haunting fans with their brilliant yet reserved brand of goth-rock severity since 2005.

Surpassing those initial stirrings, the West Coast quintet has grown from an ambitious anarcho-punk DIY entity that pushed its way onto a skeptical scene to become the vanguard of Canada’s contemporary new wave upsurge.

“We’re not trying to hide the fact that we’re making music that sounds a certain way or draws a certain era to mind. We wear it on our sleeves,” guitarist Zach Batalden tells BeatRoute. “We’re conscious of our influences and that a lot of the music is about looking back and having certain feelings about your own past at different times than where we are today.”

Beyond a backwards glance at the crushingly elegant phrasing and melodies that epitomize a time and place, Spectres latest offering, Nostalgia (Artoffact Records), immortalizes the spirit of ennui and psychic discomfort that inhabits the lyrical realms established by groups such as The Smiths, Echo & the Bunnymen and The Psychedelic Furs.

“The bands that inspired us in the first place and still inspire us today. Maybe not John Hughes, but certainly the late 70s and early to mid-80s Manchester sound is pretty strong in what we’re doing with Nostalgia for sure.”

Recorded at Jacknife Sound with producer Jason Corbett (ACTORS), Nostalgia relies heavily on dark emotional interplay between Batalden, lead singer Brian Gustavson and drummer Mitch Allen, while integrating the talents of more recent arrivals, bassist Jason Renix and guitarist Adam Mitchell. Dauntless, yet utterly prone to pursuing synth-pop romances down mysterious causeways, Nostalgia is perhaps Spectres most dance floor destined work to date.

“That’s totally a part of the goal is that people will be able to dance,” says Batalden. “Hopefully they’ll feel like moving around when they hear the music.” 

Spectres release Nostalgia on March 13 via Artoffact Records. Spectres perform Friday, Feb. 28 at The Arc (Vancouver)