Specters: Poor Cletus EP

I think it’s only fair for me to lead with the fact that I’ve heard all these songs before. Chances are, if you go to live shows around town you’ve heard Specters’ new EP, Poor Cletus, at least in part. I’ve always enjoyed Specters as a two-piece with solid songs and a fun live show but this EP really cemented them for me.

The EP as a whole sounds great, with no surprise that it was recorded and mixed by Trevor Spencer AKA Mr. Awesome.

The first track is perfect in order, grabbing the attention of any listener as an introduction to the group’s capabilities and showcasing the apparent chemistry between Stephen Steen (vocals and guitar) and Sterling Laws (drums) with a technical, conversational bridge and strong hooks.

Following with the quieter second track, “Untimely” was a major highlight for me. A song that seemed less memorable live was one that I kept coming back to. With a steady driving guitar line and much more subtle, sweeter vocals,  the song’s intent comes through. Steen’s vocals are typically cheekier, in a quirky and fun but not off-putting way, but in this track they came out as smooth, and frankly really pretty. The lyrics in the song are easily identified as that inconvenient truth that love doesn’t always find you when the time is right and this shows through with nothing insincere about the vocals or the track.

One element that seemed lacking in the first two tracks was that the drums got a bit lost, seeming more distant and congested than the quality of space and texture Laws is capable of. They made a major comeback in the second half, filling out the tracks and creating a more cohesive recording. Every part coming together as a whole was immaculately accomplished in the third track and the overall package of the release presents itself as an impressive and professional bit of musicianship and music production.