12 Track, LP (2007, Aztec)
If you’re aware of Spectrum at all it’s likely via their oldies hit ‘I’ll Be Gone’, the little brother in the Classic Hits radio stakes to, say, The Aztecs’ ‘Most People I Know Think That I’m Crazy’. Judging by the response the tune received from the 50-pluses at the recent reissue launch of Part One, the song has become a timepiece of your parents’ collective conscience. But as Part One shows, there was so much more to the group than one song. Borne out of guitarist Mike Rudd’s idea to form a group around Hammond organ, Spectrum ended up channelling a unique form of proto-prog; created in a vacuum, way down here at the bottom of the world.
The tunes are drenched in the most beautiful phasing of organ; its gentleness heightening the sense of optimism and cosmic celebration while managing to avoid sounding overly dated or self-absorbed. Part One’s half hour is bolstered by seven bonus tracks, taking in stereo and mono versions of I’ll Be Gone, s-sides and demos. The German version of Launching Place Part II, with the whimsical lyric, “Doctor, doctor take your shoes off/Dance around in sheep manure,” is the last word on how loose these guys could get when they wanted. The world certainly sounded like a simpler place in 1971.
by Troy D Colvin