For someone managing to have distinctive vocals reminiscent of a throaty Housemartins-era Paul Heaton, along with a soupçon of a smooth-sounding Ritchie Valens; Spectrals main-man Louis Jones keeps it casual and real on his Slumberland/Wichita debut, "Bad Penny". Jones' particular recording style (via producer Richard Formby) and the layered harmonies that are let loose through the shiny-jangle of his guitar playing, bring a genuine warmth and sweetness to the album, lending a unique depth to all of the songs here. There is not one that delves too far into the dark-side of pop. Even the slower lounge of "You Don't Have to Tell Me" and "Many Happy Returns" and the melancholia of tracks like "Lockjaw", and "Luck Is There to Be Pushed" make this album more dreamy than dreary (although with the former two; patience in deference to Jones' particular tuning may be a necessity upon first listen--these were 'growers' for us). Opening track, "Get A Grip" and punchier pop numbers like "Big Baby" with its singable lyrics (we love them);
"You crashed into me / When I was seventeen
Nobody told me / That girls were so mean,"
these songs become the definitive stars in the full lineup showcasing Louis' more near-perfect songwriting sensibilities. After Jones' recording of the songs for Bad Penny in early 2011 (with only his brother Will Jones to accompany him on drums), we're looking forward to a live representation of these songs and others when Spectrals tour the US this Spring (March through April).
01 Get A Grip
03 You Don't Have To Tell Me
04 Big Baby
05 Many Happy Returns
06 You Can't Live On Alone
07 Doing Time
09 Luck Is There To Be Pushed
10 Brain Freeze
11 If I Think About The Magic Will It Go Away?