Bad Penny is the debut album from Spectrals aka 21 year old Louis Jones. Mixing ingredients
of pop, soul, doo wop, and a garage rock ballad, it sounds vintage but current, while the
Yorkshire lilt in his voice (a result of his hometown, Heckmondwike) places him firmly in the
UK, rather than Detroit.
Inspired by the music he grew up listening to as a child, from the Rolling Stones (the only
CD’s his mum ever has in her car) to The Style Council, Elvis Costello and The Ronettes
(artists he regularly shares on mix tapes) it’s all “just about love really.”
In eleven original songs, not heard on any of Spectrals previous tapes, singles or EPs, he
documents his relationship with his girlfriend, who he has known since school, from the great
to the not-so-good. “Love songs are the kind of songs I like” says the guy who once turned
Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” upside down (‘Peppermint’) “‘not all of them are nice, but they’re all
feelings I’ve had”. As if he wasn’t attached to these songs enough, Louis recorded nearly all
of the instruments on Bad Penny, with his brother, Will Jones, the only other musician on the
album, on drums.
Of course, Spectrals has always been a small operation. Now in its third year of existence,
Louis started by recording in a friend’s knocked-together studio when he became bored with
the bands he spent time with him in his teens. “Playing in bands with mates was a laugh but
I always fancied doing things myself and doing the music I really liked” he says “Most of the
bands we did were Hardcore, not pop.”
Despite originally only being for his closest friends, his Myspace soon attracted the attention
of discerning labels all over the world: from Brooklyn label Captured Tracks (Dum Dum Girls,
Wild Nothing) to Brighton’s Sex Is Disgusting (Mazes, Human Hair) to Underground Peoples,
where he eventually released last year’s Extended Play. In Wichita and Slumberland he’s
found another two labels that share his love for classic pop that’s in touch with its weird side.