Often, there’s as much wonder in the process as the finished piece of art itself. That’s precisely the mark of Oklahoma City indie rockers Feel Spectres; the four-piece approaches its music with the same dedication to the craft that a woodworker carries into making a piece of fine furniture.
Every note, bar and hook is measured to the sonic millimeter, precisely plotted and seamlessly assembled before it’s coated with a drum of Thompson’s Water Seal.
Sure, songs like “Sea Inside” and “Disguise” play as fun standalones. But each musical decision behind them was informed by hundreds of trips to the record store and an ungodly amount of hours watching the vinyl spin afterward, a sensation that excites even more.
At least that last part seems necessary to so effectively echo shades of The Clash, Guided by Voices and Talking Heads as the group so often does in Meet Your Double. The record finds Feel Spectres standing in as a spiritual cover group for every dead-and-buried influence each of the four members — frontman Matt Goad, bassist Alaina Avants, guitarist/ keyboardist Tory Ayers and drummer Allen Cory — has ever carried. They do for art pop what Wolfmother did for classic rock, with just as much conviction and technical merit.
There’s a ceiling with such faithful dedication to recreation, though, and even the most talented art conservationists can’t exceed the brilliance of the original masterpiece they are asked to preserve. It’s an admirable endeavor all the same, and the obvious, oozing reverence for the source material makes Feel Spectres’ sophomore outing a successful one.
“Echo Eye” acts as the first step into the band’s haunted bounce house and the likely result of Neu! tasked with covering T. Rex, merging krautrock and fuzzy garage rock in a deliciously unhinged take from a band so often in total control. Follow-up “Disguise” builds on that motif, zip-tying the spooky pop aesthetic to an even deadlier hook.
The band has more than a little moxie, and that’s what allows the would-be London Calling B-side “Meet Your Double” charm as much as it does, with a spunky bass groove doing the major lifting. The spaghetti Western synth-rock opus “Sea Inside” and Rocky Horror Picture Show theatrics in “Karma Ride” throttle forward with a similar confidence.
The mojo runs lower on “Original Renaissance Man” and “Same Old Song.” The plodding former manages to make two minutes feel like four (salvaged only by a frenzied close that could have been applied throughout), while the latter and its prophetic title fail to leave an impression over its boilerplate run of guitar solos and breakdowns.
Feel Spectres understand the tropes and mostly dance around them, but it’s the happy accidents that happen in those evasive maneuvers that find the band at its very best. In “Hip Revelations” and “Technical Support,” that encyclopedic knowledge of mod chicness, sleek guitar riffage and melodies as catchy as Johnny Bench collide, and it’s a beautiful thing, a journey and destination that stand on even footing.