Vagabond Specter – Mirrors

Posted: 26 January 2017 in Albums
Tags: , , , ,

January 2017

Christopher Nosnibor

There’s nothing wrong with pop. Critics the world over will tell you that pop is trash, that it has less artistic currency than any other musical style. We don’t mean it, at least as abrasively and directly as all that. And those who do man it are terrible snobs who lack the broadmindedness to be a just critic. Any music critic worth paying attention to loves pop – good pop. This means I’m not talking about the mass-produced r’n’b slop that proliferates in the top 40. What, they dispensed with that? Well, R1 did, and that perhaps shows just how devalued mainstream pop has become. But moving on… pop isn’t always a dirty word. Quality pop is a rare find.

Balancing expansive, bombastic, surging songs with more introspective, low-key yet deft and accessible songs, Ukrane’s Vagabond Specter produce pop of a rare quality: their synth-led songs are dreamy, layered. Pablo Specter, the band’s singer dispenses lyrics – his voice heavily processed and accented – about swans and dancing, and he’s got a decent range which spans from the light and soaring to a crooning baritone.

They’re not lightweight or lacking in substance or imagination, either. There’s a magical electronic snowstorm in the middle of ‘Scars as Notes’, and ‘Dancing in the Light’ has guitar chug, buoyant synths and a bouncy vocal, and calls to mind XTC’s ‘Making Plans for Nigel’. XTC are a perfect example of a pop band and ‘Making Plans for Nigel’ is as good a pop song as you’ll ever hear. This is not critical opinion: it’s fact. So, by associative connections, Vagabond Specter are a great pop band, and ‘Mirrors’ is a great album. And it is: as much as it’s steeped in nostalgia and historicity, it’s a cracking pop album which harks back to certain vintage. There’s nothing wrong with that: great songs defy genre, age and epoch.

 

Vagabond Specter

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