“Weight”, the new single from dream pop duo Spectator, sweeps a whirlwind of emotions through a vast, open heart holding on to something that is about to change. Layers of upbeat guitar symbolize the free, unbolted feeling of living in the moment as the moment itself begins to fade away. Bright, glossy melodies pulse, The rush of blood through a beating vessel in a single existence of pure euphoria.
Spectator is Megan Rooney and Jeffrey Albert. They met in Saint Louis, Missouri in 2006, and began spending evenings together playing each other songs they'd been cultivating for years. At the time, Meg sang in a band and had many fully realized songs, while Jeff had years of pieces and ideas saved up with nowhere to go, songs that never felt complete. Quickly their ideas blended, and new songs starting forming without any way of telling where one person's ended and the other's began.
Their first EP In the Brick, released in 2012, was developed over several years, and too many long weekends to count, at Centro Cellar Studio in Columbia, Missouri. Co-producing with engineer and old friend Wil Reeves in his studio, songs were recorded, scrapped, broken down to their basest parts, built back up again, sometimes more than once. More songs were recorded than were released. Someone once described this process as a laboratory. Meg and Jeff hunkered down, learned the recording process, how to build songs for a full band, and how to get to the sounds that were in their heads. During that process, they found drummer Laren Loveless and bassist Luke Berry, and they became the 'core four' of the live band, playing lots of shows and forming a deep musical connection. In the Brick received a lot of local love in Saint Louis, and Meg and Jeff began to write new songs that would develop not just at home or in the studio, but also out in front of an audience with the band, growing and changing as they tinkered with the elements.
Their next album, The Last Exchange, was a full- length released in 2015. They recorded at Centro Cellar again with some of the same musicians, but expanded to include new artists as well. Guitarist Dominic Puleo joined the live band and recording sessions, bringing along his deep musical knowledge and his 10 million guitars. In the middle of making the album, Meg and Jeff moved to Oakland, California, so much of the album was recorded in pieces with home recordings that were later mixed with studio work. Vocals were recorded at a different studio...and in their bedroom closet. The Last Exchange was an album about transition, and the process of making it ended up fully embodying that concept.
Charlie, Baby is Spectator's most deliberate work to date. While living in Oakland for a couple of years and playing occasional shows in the Bay Area and Saint Louis, their focus shifted to writing and demoing tracks at home. Upon moving back to Saint Louis (and somewhere along the way finally getting hitched), they decided to approach this album a bit differently. They teamed up with Kevin Bachmann to produce the record - something they'd always done themselves. Together they refined ideas before heading into the studio and then tracked them live at Native Sound Recording in Saint Louis. Kevin produced and played bass among many other instruments, and Mike Schurk played drums. Along with Meg and Jeff, this foursome is at the heart of every track. While there was still a lot of room for creativity and new ideas in the studio, the process was more focused than the previous two projects. They did, however, still fully break down and rebuild one track just for good measure...
Charlie, Baby is about how loss shapes your future. The songs came together during personal and societal turmoil, as well as Meg's professional work with refugees - people who've lost everything and must rebuild their lives after relocating. The album represents a similar, yet profoundly new step in Spectator's sound. And it was wrapped up just in time - just 5 days after their last studio session their beautiful new baby girl was born.
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The new dream pop single, “Waves” due out February 7 from St. Louis duo, Spectator, flows like a glossy, peaceful river flooded with sonic intimacy. The single is off the upcoming album, Charlie, Baby, out April 12, 2019. The album will be released in Scandinavia on Painted Black, a subsidiary of Nordic Records.
Roy Kasten, RFT
"Spectator's Music is as beautiful and enigmatic as rock gets."
Roy Kasten, KDHX
"Combining flute‐like keyboards, guitar and even electronic autoharp, the band has developed a sound that's both lonesome and comforting, and should appeal to fans of the eerie jazzy style of Mazzy Star and Cotton Jones."
Blair Stiles, Eleven Magazine
"Comfortable darkness is a worthy backdrop for Spectator… St.Louis’s dream-pop act is a midnight kiss on record, and anointed with a country balm live."
Christian Schaeffer, Riverfront Times
"Dreampop bands rarely get both sides of the hyphen right… it's a comfort that Spectator makes its recording debut with such a rich, elegantly produced piece of mood music."
"There are hints of Robin Pecknold in Jeffrey Albert’s vocal delivery, whereas the music is a veiled and ethereal reflection of the Fleet Foxes’ pastoral folk." [2/19/19]
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