Spectators | The String and the Bow


Family Average: 4/7

Bring in the STRINGS! We are back and here to give you another hot take on some tunes we have come across. Today we talk Spectators. A Folky Rocky Bandy hailing from the place they call Chicago, Illinois. Take a breath and take a walk we have lots to talk to you about.

Listen along on Their Bandcamp and read on to find out:


I went through many different feeling and opinions about this album. Starting from the place that I honestly thought this was gonna be all instrumentals, like a violinist and then it started and I kind of heard the hints of a voice and I was like “okay maybe not.”  When he started singing, it was not the voice I expected and to be harshly honest it kind of made me want to punch the singer in the face. That was my first thought though, I had a change of heart, it went a bit like this: It has aspects that remind me of those happy indie pop songs from like 2005. I’m trying to think of an example Matt Costa? The Wombats? Mika? I'm not there yet, but i'll find it. “Carry Me Home” is when I realized this isn't bad, it’s kinda nice, I like what the voice is doing, but the wooo ooo oo oos are just so done before. Maybe the whole thing is? And then “Give it all to you” is a goodie, I liked it. It's lean, well done. At first I was like mmm I’m over this kind of music, just not my thing. But then I changed my opinion to nah this album is good, good work,  the people will like it. “Retro” is stylish. Talented musicians, nice guitar sound--especially in “Retro--, nice harmonies, vocals I liked everything about “Wire” The beginning of “Reborn” sounded very familiar… wasn’t a big fan of it until that shift at about 4 minutes in, now I feel like I’m swimming in the deep sea not yet coming up for air. What a lot of twists and turns in my opinions.



Well here I go home once again to that familiar sound. Not sure if this dates my age to any of you youngsters out there but when I was a lad I enjoyed a lot of bands that had very similar sounds to these guys. Bands like neon trees, and oberhoffer, I liked them. By gum I still like them. You want to know why? Because they got some wicked consistent energy coursing through their efforts. There are not any songs on this album that sound overproduced, or contrived. Each one brings with it a lot of honesty. “TAKE ME AS I AM” the album shouts at me, and I say OK sure you seem cool. Gotta say I really enjoyed the vocals on this one of all the little noises coming out of my computer that was the one that I latched on to the most. Can’t say I have a preference over the lady or the fellah but gosh oh they really do a great job.



I had no idea what to expect from these guys. I was picturing an electric violin, kinda like the one played in the movie “Revenge of the Nerds” So when I heard the first track I was thinking this is really strange kinda of medieval and gothic mixed with Rocky Horror Picture show mixed with Weezer. I think it was supposed to be fun and whimsical but it was not for me. Then we get “Carry me home” wow we did a 180. It was quality pop with great vocals. Okay now I’m a fan. I like these guys, the high points for me were “Retro” and “Levitation” with the latter getting a second listen, something I almost never do, but it had a nice sound to it almost like Weezer meets Squeeze. The vocals were light and airy and the instruments complimented the vocals nicely.  I would enjoy this music live at a festival. Hey Asbury Park reach to these guys for next years outdoor concert. Bring your beach towel and rum buckets and enjoy the music on a sunny afternoon.


0_0000_Layer Comp 1.jpg

Very clean nice things here. My two favorite songs would have to be Retro and Give It All to You. I would love to know who this bands inspiration is. It for sure sounds like they are tapping into an alternative market that currently exists which brings me to the largest gripe I have about this album. With the large amount of alternative albums that sound almost exactly like this, does The String and the Bow stand out? I fear that maybe it gets lost due to lack of originality. While there was nothing to be overtly angry about, I fear that this album played it too safe and by the book. Perhaps it would be groundbreaking if it was released a few years… or possibly decades earlier.


0_0001_Layer Comp 2.jpg

This was a whole lot of Spoon and a whole lot of Kooks, all mixed up with dance-pop-indie noise circa early 2000s. The album as a whole is very sing-songy and palatable, and panders to anyone with indie-alt tastes. With tight production and a decent few hooks, it feels conventional and won’t really offend anyone. The vocals are the most compelling part, giving it all a bit more vim, vigor, and a slice of much needed personality. But they really haven’t struck on something new. It’s vanilla and an easy, enjoyable listen, but I wouldn’t actively seek them out.



So this is a band that has their stuff together. They sound like they’ve been around the block a few times and have a pretty idea of where they want to go. For me it was reminiscent of a lot of mid-2000’s indie rock, but there isn’t a particular band I can pinpoint that they match sound with. Maybe a little Michael Buble on the piano parts I dunno. Their sound had a whimsical feel to it, but the mood changed up between songs and kept their style sounding fresh. While the first few tracks didn’t really grab me, I started to get invested as it progressed and by Retro they had my attention. That ended up being one of my favorite songs next to Levitation. It wasn’t too conventional but it wasn’t too out there. They did some unique stuff and put their own spin on things. The vocals in particular were quite eccentric, at times a bit twangy? I thought it was kinda strange at first but eventually I became accustomed to it. It did get to be a bit too much at times though. Also was Reborn’s title supposed to be a play on how the song seems to end but then starts back up again? Cause that’s what I thought anyway.
Solid sound coming from this bunch, I’d listen again.


Sean Maldjian