One-man band Louis Jones, hailing from Heckmondwike, West Yorkshire, recorded slightly skewed, reverb-heavy amalgamations of ‘60s doo wop, Brill Building pop, and bashful garage rock — often with dazed surf guitar accents — as Spectrals. The 7” single “Leave Me Be” was released in 2009 on Captured Tracks. Early the following year, he issued split singles with Fair Ohs (on Tough Love) and Mazes (on Love Is Disgusting), both of which featured two of his songs. Later in the year, Jones linked with Slumberland, who issued “7th Date,” a colored 7” single, that June. Though he recorded almost everything by himself, with help from his younger brother on drums, he put together a live band and put in a considerable amount of time on the road, including a tour with Girls. Jones’ first album, Bad Penny, was released in late 2011 on Slumberland in the US and Wichita in the UK. The album featured his brother on drums again and was helmed by veteran UK producer Richard Formby
To put it simply, Spectrals' Louis Jones writes pop songs about love. Seems straightforward enough. Jones also lists Diana Ross and Blink 182 alike amongst his biggest influences--and suddenly things get a little more interesting.
It’s true, Jones blends in nicely with the present indie-pop scene, touring with similarly love-obsessed bands like Real Estate and Girls. However, as his bio attests, his origin and seemingly incompatible influences may be the keys to what sets him apart. "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.”
It all started for Jones while at university in Leeds. Discouraged from taking an academic path to music, he took the fast-track in to the biz and began posting songs on the internet in 2009. American label Captured Tracks took notice and together they subsequently released a 7’’ containing two songs embodying the lo-fi charm we have come to expect from bedroom recordings . As Jones commented to The Stool Pigeon, it seems, his music career found him.
The next release came in the form of an EP called Extended Play where Spectrals broke out of the bedroom, cleaning up the fuzz by stepping up production. The result reinforced Jones' blueprint mix of Phil Spector-doo-wop-garage-rock, while proving that his work exceeds trend parameters and lo-fi hype.
Now at 21, Spectrals continues to polish his work on his debut LP Bad Penny, clarifying that he does not intend to return to his reverbed roots anytime soon. Cleaner bouncy melodies on songs like "Get a Grip"don't detract from the retro vibe and ensure that greater accessibility does not have to translate to dull. Receiving praise from authorities like Pitchfork and BBC and an ever growing fan base, any fear that people will turn their backs on the slicker sound seems unlikely.
Surrounding his stop at SXSW 2012, Jones will embark on his first American tour--supporting indie darlings Cults none-the-less. Lucky for Spectrals, as it turns out, people still enjoy pop songs about love.