2015 has been one incredible year. We’ve witnessed growing support for the LGBTIQ community. Last week, The Supreme Court of the United States last week ruled that legislation prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying was unconstitutional, and President Barack Obama made a passionate speech about all love being equal and love knows no bounds.
A few months ago, former Olympian Bruce Jenner revealed he was transitioning and took the name of Caitlyn. TV shows like Modern Family and the breakthrough Transparent have also helped further inform people about LGBTIQ issues. Major news outlets have also gotten into the act, featuring articles and interviews about people who have had to overcome significant obstacles – both personally and beyond – to not only be accepted by others but for themselves to accept who they are. It’s a struggle that hopefully no young person will have to experience in the future as awareness grows and greater equality is achieved.
An individual who has experienced first hand these challenges and overcome them is Isley Reust. She shared her transitioning story on YouTube, and the Huffington Post and The New York Times shared her story. I also had the opportunity to interview Isley, talking to her about her feelings as a teenager and her band Spectacular Spectacular. Maybe it’s coincidence, sheer luck, or fate, but tomorrow Spectacular Spectacular will release their debut album, Blur.
But let’s make one thing clear – Blur isn’t an anthem for the LGBTIQ community. And while the album is steeped with deep, introspective messages of self-awareness and individuality, it’s not necessarily a soundtrack for anyone particular; it’s an album made for everyone. It is about hope, about our desires and our dreams, and the pains many of people experience each day.
Sonically, it’s difficult to pin down the album. The reach of Spectacular Spectacular is extensive and some of the tracks are either extremely expansive or blend multiple genres. The one common characteristic across the album is that it possesses a cinematic quality. The opening song, “Wake Me Up”, is a percussion-driven track with a touch of spaghetti western mixed in for good measure. A song about a dream and a wish, the song introduces the listener immediately to Spectacular Spectacular’s cinematic rock style. “Don’t You Dare”, meanwhile, takes a brooding, haunting approach. The guitar work slithers across its five-minute duration to add to the feeling of being hunted.
Another trait is the heavy use of strings to add either a dreamy or haunting quality. The sensual “Let’s Fly Away” is taken to atmospheric heights, as the soothing sounds of the strings complement the song’s message of undying love. “All The Way” is a love ballad that is given a more romantic, serene feeling. “50” goes in a different direction, where Spectacular Spectacular’s use of the strings is akin to Guns ‘N Roses. The cello and violins are meant to give the rock song a deep, dark power.
When Spectacular Spectacular isn’t making cinematic music, they’re looking for ways to take something familiar and make it different. “Orange Juice“, the lead single released a few months ago, is a ’90s-inspired, alternative rock track that is laced with disco-noir rhythms. The song recalls Shirley Manson and her legendary outfit, Garbage. “Saturday Night”, on the other, melds two opposite genres into one excellent track. It starts off with a dream-folk melody before seamlessly moving into a blast of punk-rock and then back to the lush dreaminess a la Mazzy Star. The combination of sounds reflects the roller coaster ride that Saturday nights can be for so many people.
The album closes with the intimate and engaging “Blur”. It’s the most introspective song of the album. Played over the slight hum of the electric guitar, the tune speaks of being hurt and confused and that deep, long desire to find resolution, whether an end or a new start. It feels like a desperate plea to be heard, to be found, to be recognized.
For Spectacular Spectacular, recognition, though, shouldn’t be a problem in these coming months. With Blur, they’ve crafted an excellent debut album. While the album could use one or two more rockers, the women of Spectacular Spectacular have taken familiar genres and added refreshing new sounds and tones. Although the album’s release date coincidentally corresponds with last week’s landmark ruling, maybe, just maybe the stars happened to aligned for Isley Reust, Jessica De Grasse, and Millie Chan to release Blur.
Blur is available tomorrow (June 30th). Check Spectacular Spectacular’s various social media sites for more details on availability. The band is currently on tour, traveling through the western part of North America. The dates are below. You can also support Spectacular Spectacular now, as their van broke down and they’re running a pledge campaign to help finance their tour. Every dollar counts.
SPECTACULAR SPECTACULAR TOUR DATES
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