SPECTRALE – ▲
The French ensemble named Spectrale recently released this moody 9-track affair of theirs, which is deeply rooted in acoustic and experimental music with a strong ambient-like vibe to it. At times it even veers into folk rock territory, but with a strangely hypnotic and otherworldly quality to it. Spectrale’s eclectic spawn of music has nothing to do with metal, just so that we are clear on that, but it is utterly dark and introspective in many ways.
The songs have a natural and organic flow to them with the acoustic guitars driving everything forward. Electric guitars, percussion, and piano creep into the mix and add dynamics and a sense of the grandiose to the proceedings. The soundscapes switch and slide between the frail and the rather tense, so the album is anything but one-dimensional. My main gripe with it is that some tracks are really strong and resonate with depth and meaning while others lack those extra dimensions and are simply just…well, they are just kind of there.
Do not get me wrong, the album is a whole is quite pleasant and cool to immerse oneself in, but a number of songs never reach the same height as others and leave me feeling somewhat unmoved and a tad dispassionate. Spectrale are at their best when the songs attain and evoke that indefinable mesmerizing quality and plunge themselves into bottomless seas of melancholy, but some cuts feel and sound a little redundant in that they pale in comparison with the best and most complete ones on the disc.
The most compelling compositions include "Contact", "Magellan", and "Monocerotis (Part 1)" in the sense that they cover a lot of emotional ground and are truly captivating pieces, but the record is worth looking into if you are on the lookout for a gloomy and esoteric soundtrack now that winter is upon us. It will be interesting to see what Spectrale will conjure up the next time around as there is most certainly potential to be found here.