During a trip to Hanayashiki Park in Tokyo, Avery Brooks finally found a moniker for a collection of songs he had been working on in private. It was a small placard, glanced in passing, but the phrase stuck with him. ‘Lost Children’ spoke to his ongoing preoccupation with aging, mortality, and the anxieties of adulthood. Time has been a theme for Brooks since his first release, Our Fallen Cities, which was a soundtrack to visions of post-apocalyptic America, a score of love songs meant to accompany a dimly-lit futurist nostalgia. With tracks like "Time is Running Down," Brooks made no secret of his subject matter, nor did he stray from his unswerving orbit around an 80's sensibility: much of Our Fallen Cities feels like an updated Depeche Mode, giving free reign to dark, skeletal clanging and judicious use of vocoder.
Specters finds Brooks no less fascinated with his own death drive, this time letting the songs fall into the familiar shapes of ghost stories. Brooks continues to pay homage to his darkwave heroes, but here he allows his synths to stretch their legs with dizzyingly intricate programming, employing denser, more shimmering textures and letting small patches of light slip through. Vocal lines are woven through the mix, often acting as synth pads themselves, stretchy layers draped across steely percussion. Despite their morbid fascination, the sounds are very much alive, pulsing choirs of synth tones in vivid spectrums of dark blue. Brooks's friends and bandmates from Ravens & Chimes, Selebrities, and the Ice Choir contribute guitar parts and backing vocals. Specters is a sensitively woven sonic space that deals primarily in darkness, but glows with a slight warmth around the edges.
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