A Spectre is Haunting Europe "Astonishing Tales of the Sea"

Reviewed by: Joshua A. Pfeiffer

  Right from the opening Bass lines, the debut EP by Vancouver's "A Spectre is Haunting Europe" brings to mind the current style in Post-Punk bands. With a similar sound to bands like The Cold War, and The Prids. It's apparent that Post-Punk is experiencing a renaissance these days. "Astonishing Tales of the Sea" is a promising debut from these young canadians.

  The opening track See You Inside starts off with the excellent Bass playing of "Marina Stamboulieh" (aka Zsa Zsa) the bands own press release describes it perfectly "Cold, Hollow Bass" (Just the way I like it). Vocalist/Guitarist "Jean Hebert" quickly takes the forefront in the song, while "Darcy Bangsund" brings the rhythm alive with his drumming, complimenting the Bass lines nicely. See You Inside is certainly a worthy track to be released as a single.

  Arachnid follows picking up the pace a bit, with a nice Daniel Ash inspired guitar intro. Organs, and Keyboards can be heard clearly in the background of this track (This seems to be a requirement for new school Post-Punk artists). Once again the Bass and Guitars compliment each other perfectly. A nice effect is felt from the slightly de-tuned sound of the guitars.

  Rifles is a nice mid-tempo number with squalls of noisy guitar stabs, and a nice plodding beat. It's similar to the first two tracks, but it has a nice start-stop style throughout. Jean often sounds like the disturbed love child of Brian Moloko, and Peter Murphy. Which is very easy to hear during this track.

  Fearless Vampire Killers (Not the "Bad Brains" song) is up next. Another fast paced number with some nice catchy moments. The band is really firing on all cylinders during this track. I love the subtle use of keyboards during this one too.

  Against the Animals is another upbeat/mid-tempo track. With a more traditional "Alternative Rock" format than any of the other tracks on the album. It also has it's moments but isn't as instantly catchy as See You Inside.

  Eye Thieves sounds suspiciously like "Chain of Flowers" by The Cure. I wouldn't call Plagarism on this track however, as it seems that The Cure were used as a blueprint. However the band manage to turn the track into something completely theirs. The two tracks could mix perfectly on the dancefloor. Like Chain of Flowers, this track is a slow rolling piece of music, that unfolds quietly. After all what modern band hasn't been influenced by The Cure?

  The last track War Towers is one of the shortest songs on the EP. With a slight Nursery Rhyme feel to the lyrics, the song rolls along quickly bringing the EP to a close.

  The only criticism I have of this group, is that at times the vocals come across a little too forced. A bit of subtlety can go a long way, and I think it would give their sound a really nice feeling. All in all, I'm pretty immpressed with this debut, and I look forward to hearing more from A Spectre is Haunting Europe in the future.

The Homepage of "A Spectre is Haunting Europe"