‘Condition’ is loud. It is taut, it is coarse and it is hostile. And yet it is emphatically clear. Clear in terms of its fidelity, having been mastered beautifully by Mogwai desk-manner Frank Arkwright, but focused, also, in its execution of a distinctive sonic blueprint. It is a masterclass in dynamics and a showcase of genuinely innovative songwriting as it flicks between loud and quiet, fuzz and clean. But while each of its sprawling nine tracks is drenched in distortion, give ‘Condition’ the respect it deserves and you’ll find melodic and compositional brilliance beneath the stern exterior.
It is an album that should be taken as a whole, but individual highlights abound. Recalling ‘This Nation’s Saving Grace’-era Fall, ‘Colour Me Out’ emulates Steve Hanley’s steady, chugging refrains while all around chaos reigns. ‘A Fish Called Wanda’ exists in a space between post-punk and baggy-era Manchester, while ‘Dissolve’, with its brawny rhythm section battling for control, brings math rock into 2017. Spectres have said that they’re not interested in success. Go out and buy this and see how they deal with it.
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