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Crossover Prog • Australia

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The Melbourne-based SPECTRUM was a highly regarded Australian progressive psych rock band that came together in 1969 around its central figure, expatriate New Zealand guitarist/singer/songwriter, Mike Rudd.

Rudd came to Australia in 1966 with the New Zealand group, CHANTS R&B, then moved through two other bands - PARTY MACHINE and SONS OF THE VEGETAL MOTHER - before assembling SPECTRUM with bassist Bill Putt (ex GALLERY and THE LOST SOULS), organist Les Neale (ex NINETEEN 87) and Putt's former GALLERY band mate, Mark Kennedy on drums.

In its formative year SPECTRUM played covers of work by its contemporaries, such established psychedelic / progressive artists like PINK FLOYD, SOFT MACHINE and TRAFFIC before developing a style of its own. The SPECTRUM sound was formed around Neale's skilled Hammond organ playing - mostly without the use of a Leslie speaker cabinet - and Rudd's extraordinary finger-picking guitar style (a style he reportedly used to avoid being compared to the more accomplished guitarists of the time), his often humorous and offbeat song titles and lyrics, plus his unusual and distinctive voice. Add to these two the very skilled and reliable rhythm section of Putt and Kennedy and the SPECTRUM equation is complete.

As regulars at many of Melbourne's concert venues SPECTRUM honed its sound and developed a swag of original material. This material would eventually find its way onto the first SPECTRUM album, "Spectrum Part One". SPECTRUM's polished stage show used a lot of equipment, a huge PA system and had a full light show. The hefty equipment costs meant that a lot of concerts were needed to create some kind of effective income, and bookings were not always easy to come by as some promoters thought SPECTRUM's sound 'too progressive'. As SPECTRUM is struggling to make ends meet via the concert circuit, a significant change comes about in Australian law when a number of states amend the Age Of Majority from 21 to 18. This lowering of the legal age for alcohol consumption gave birth to the pub rock scene, forever changing the Australian live music circuit; pubs had cheap beer to offer to a sharply increased cliental base, and could hire bands to play live music in the rowdy pub atmosphere that leant itself to the rock 'n' roll sound. This new phenomenon was to the detriment of the larger concert events held in unlicensed venues. SPECTRUM (and other "head" groups) needed the larger concerts and an audience prepared to sit and...
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All the Colours of the Spectrum: Comp RecordingsAll the Colours of the Spectrum: Comp Recordings
Imports 2017
Audio CD$11.06
$11.24 (used)
The Light Is Dark EnoughThe Light Is Dark Enough
Audio CD$21.12
$53.00 (used)
Live Chronicles 2Live Chronicles 2
Space Age 2016
Audio CD$8.67
$12.51 (used)
Live Chronicles 1Live Chronicles 1
Space Age 2016
Audio CD$8.67
$12.51 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Spectrum (80s) CD single (CD5 / 5") A Pox On You UK ORBIT003CD USD $15.64 Buy It Now 31m 46s
On A Level Level 42 German CD album (CDLP) 5500102 SPECTRUM 1993 USD $13.77 Buy It Now 1h 16m
Abba The Voice Of Abba CD album (CDLP) German 550212-2 SPECTRUM 1994 USD $15.64 Buy It Now 1h 19m
Let Loose The Best Of UK CD album (CDLP) 5541802 SPECTRUM 1997 USD $21.92 Buy It Now 1h 51m
Spectrum (60s) Portobello Road UK 7" vinyl single record RCA1619 RCA VICTOR USD $16.22 Buy It Now 1h 51m
The Voice Of ABBA Abba CD album (CDLP) UK 550212-2 SPECTRUM 1994 USD $15.64 Buy It Now 1h 51m
Joan Armatrading Me Myself I UK CD album (CDLP) 5500582 SPECTRUM 1993 USD $15.66 Buy It Now 2h
Strawbs CD album (CDLP) The Collection UK 544706-2 SPECTRUM 2002 USD $15.66 Buy It Now 2h 4m
Scorpions Classic Bits UK CD album (CDLP) 586531-2 SPECTRUM/UNIVERSAL 2002 USD $12.51 Buy It Now 2h 4m
The Music Still Goes On Abba CD album (CDLP) German 551109-2 SPECTRUM 1996 USD $13.15 Buy It Now 2h 13m
Spectrum (80s) How You Satisfy Me CD single (CD5 / 5") UK ORECD41 SILVERTONE USD $28.17 Buy It Now 2h 18m
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FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE-Ceremonials(2012)-Spectrum-New AND Sealed USD $12.61 Buy It Now 3h 9m
All of My Heart: ABC Collection by ABC (CD, Oct-2010, 2 Discs, Spectrum Music... USD $15.38 Buy It Now 4h 8m
Thalia Myers - Spectrum (50 Contemporay Works, 1999) USD $13.93 Buy It Now 4h 9m
33 RPM Vinyl Karol Szymanowski Violin Concerto No2 OP61 Spectrum Stereo 012615SM USD $14.99 Buy It Now 4h 56m
H71220 CONTEMPORARY CHAMBER ENSEMBLE Spectrum New American Music Volume 2 LP USD $7.55 Buy It Now 5h 27m
Ring of Fire Spectrum by Johnny Cash CD Aug 1998 Universal Polygram NEW USD $7.97 Buy It Now 5h 30m
SPECTRUM In The Space LP ? 1979 JAPAN DISCO/FUNK Rare Technics promo only USD $31.30 Buy It Now 5h 35m
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Rare Spectrum Media E-Sassin Genome Future Shock 12" Lp Record Album USD $4.95 Buy It Now 6h 29m
Modern Northern Soul NM- 45 ACE SPECTRUM Keep Holding On / Without You USD $9.50 [0 bids]
6h 40m
ABBA - Classic [Spectrum Audio] (2009) USD $3.12 Buy It Now 6h 43m
Orbiting With Roy Orbison and Bristow Hopper Vinyl LP Spectrum SDL-164 VGP USD $0.99 [0 bids]
Cassette - Steven Halpern Spectrum Suite Extended Play Anti-Frantic Alternative USD $15.95 Buy It Now 7h
FUNK SPECTRUM Compiled Josh Davis AKA DJ Shadow & Keb Darge (NEW SEALED) CD Rare USD $11.26 Buy It Now 7h 3m
All of My Heart: ABC Collection by ABC (CD, Oct-2010, 2 Discs, Spectrum Music... USD $5.39 Buy It Now 7h 21m
David Allan Coe - Human Emotions - Spectrum VII - Songwriter/Outlaw/Country Rock USD $24.19 Buy It Now 7h 29m
The Best of Al Jolson [Universal] by Al Jolson (CD, Jun-1997, Spectrum) USD $3.92 Buy It Now 7h 33m
SPECTRUM: Samantha's Mine + 3 45 (Portugal, PC with sm tag stain) Rock USD $18.00 Buy It Now 7h 49m
DAVID FLAGG SINGS MY GOD AND I LP NM Spectrum LPS-3001 USD $12.95 Buy It Now 7h 55m
Northern Soul, R&B, Ace Spectrum, Don't Send Nobody Else USD $9.73 [4 bids]
8h 15m
8h 29m
Allman Brothers Band RARE 2CD A Berry Good Jam At The Spectrum 1972 Excellent!!! USD $18.50 [2 bids]
8h 35m
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Morbid Saint:Spectrum Of Death Lim. 100 Relapse Records CLEAR VINYL LP,Death USD $79.99 [0 bids]
9h 34m
Habitatable J - Midnight Spectrum [CD New] USD $20.11 Buy It Now 9h 46m
ACE SPECTRUM "Low Rent Rendezvous"1975 on ATLANTIC SD-18143 M- Vinyl R USD $25.99 Buy It Now 9h 51m
Lia COLLECTION ALBUM Vol.1 "Diamond Days",Vol.2"Crystal Voice", USD $65.00 [0 bids]
USD $150.00 Buy It Now
11h 3m
artists ENGELBERT HUMPERDINCK CD ALBUM THE COLLECTION 17 tracks 1998 spectrum USD $7.52 Buy It Now 11h 14m
Wolpe Rochberg Shifrin Spectrum New American Music V. 2 USD $9.99 Buy It Now 11h 15m
Charles Brown XMAS BLUES 45 (Blues Spectrum 17) Merry Christmas, Baby VG+ USD $3.97 Buy It Now 11h 48m
Joan Armatrading - Collection [Spectrum] (1999) USD $2.19 Buy It Now 11h 52m
Rare 1968 Northern Soul SPECTRUM 101 Promo 45 Lilly Fields HOW YOU GIVE ME LOVE USD $19.99 [0 bids]
11h 55m
Spectrum Road-Spectrum Road VINYL NEW USD $18.72 Buy It Now 12h 8m
SEALED JEAN ADAM GUILAIN Suites For Organ WOLFGANG RUBSAM LP Spectrum SR 102 USD $9.99 Buy It Now 12h 43m
CD ABBA THE NAME OF THE GAME Spectrum 2002 Pop Album 16 Tracks ID2 USD $3.13 Buy It Now 13h 10m
Encore [Box] by Michael Ball (CD, Mar-2010, 3 Discs, Spectrum Music (UK)) USD $17.28 Buy It Now 13h 12m
The Sound of Music-Richard Rodgers/ Oscar Hammers- Sterio Spectrum LP 12" (VG) USD $24.78 Buy It Now 13h 35m
Funk 45: Bad Bascomb Band on Spectrum Do It Twice & Funk City USD $15.00 Buy It Now 13h 45m
The Remixes by Level 42 (CD, Jul-1992, Spectrum Music (UK)) USD $5.24 Buy It Now 13h 45m
Bosses of the Ballad/Spectrum by Illinois Jacquet (CD, Jan-2006, Lonehill) USD $4.99 Buy It Now 14h 6m
Music of Elton John by Spectrum (Easy) (CD, Feb-2000, First Choice) USD $1.99 Buy It Now 14h 17m
SPECTRUM: Glory / Nodnol 45 (Spain, PS, promo tol) Rock & Pop USD $18.00 Buy It Now 14h 20m
Music of Billy Joel by Spectrum (Easy) (CD, Feb-1995, Intersound) USD $2.63 Buy It Now 14h 50m
David Flagg - Sings My God And I LP Vinyl PRIVATE XIAN LPS-1971 SIGNED Spectrum USD $19.99 Buy It Now 14h 59m
ARIEL I Can Do Anything 1976 Oz 45 Single ~ Spectrum MIKE RUDD Murtceps USD $18.73 Buy It Now 15h 33m
Spectrum SR-125 stereo Nm MOZART Piano Sonatas Nos. 12 & 13 - STEVEN LUBIN, 1980 USD $3.00 Buy It Now 15h 36m
Sy Zentner et al Spotlight on Jazz All Stars 1962 Stereo-Spectrum SDLP-153 SS LP USD $2.99 [0 bids]
15h 43m
Spectrum (80s) Indian Summer UK CD single (CD5 / 5") ORECD56 SILVERTONE 1993 USD $14.39 Buy It Now 16h 26m
Music of Whitney Houston by Spectrum USD $3.92 Buy It Now 16h 47m
GerašÔo Bendita by Spectrum (Brazil) (CD, Mar-2002, Shadoks Music) USD $16.99 Buy It Now 17h 23m
Hole Hearted [Universal International] by Extreme (CD, May-2002, Spectrum) USD $3.90 Buy It Now 17h 49m
Crazy for You by Spectrum CD USD $3.92 Buy It Now 18h
Forbidden Pleasure by Spectrum Singers USD $3.92 Buy It Now 18h 8m
STEVEN HALPERN LP VINYL SPECTRUM SUITE yoga self awarness MUZAK RARE audiophile USD $1.00 [1 bids]
18h 32m
New Country Hits Performed By Spectrum by Spectrum CD USD $3.92 Buy It Now 18h 43m
George Jessel Last of the Minstrel Men Stereo Spectrum SS 43 still in shrink NM USD $24.99 Buy It Now 18h 59m
Party Nice Again by Spectrum Band. USD $21.23 Buy It Now 19h 11m
The Platters 18 Classic Tracks Music Cassette Spectrum Label USD $8.76 Buy It Now 19h 37m
THE SPECTRUM - ALL THE COLOURS OF THE SPECTRUM 1964 - 1970 2 CD NEW+ USD $23.72 Buy It Now 19h 58m
Fredric Myrow & Roger Reynolds SPECTRUM New American Music Vol.1 Japanese LP USD $8.97 Buy It Now 20h 58m
Spectrum 0081227957155 by Billy Cobham, CD, BRAND NEW FREE P&H USD $8.09 Buy It Now 21h 16m
Human Future-Spectrum Vinyl / 12" Album NEW USD $26.91 Buy It Now 22h 3m
Spectrum, Baby Grand, Very Good USD $4.99 Buy It Now 22h 7m
Lionel Hampton JAZZ SPECTRUM VOL. 7 Vinyl LP Metro Records 2355 007 USD $4.70 Buy It Now 22h 26m
Grateful Dead Road Trips Spectrum Vol. 4 No. 4 4/6/82 1982 Philadelphia PA 3 CD USD $144.99 Buy It Now 22h 36m
INDELIBLE MURTCEPS - WARTS UP YOUR NOSE original 1973 oz prog psych Spectrum NM USD $65.65 Buy It Now 23h 11m
'The New Atlantis' (Spacemen 3, Spectrum) CD New USD $8.76 Buy It Now 1 day
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Haunter Of The Dark by Infinite Spectrum [THE LASER'S EDGE,Hard Rock] (Audio CD) USD $16.40 Buy It Now 1 day
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Human Emotions / Spectrum VII USD $15.85 Buy It Now 1 day
Spectrum The Remixes 12" R & S Records 1991 RS 9101 USD $16.27 Buy It Now 1 day
RIGNOLD LONDON SYMPHONY Dvorak New World Symphony AUDIO SPECTRUM LP USD $15.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Midnight Spectrum - Habitatable J (2004, CD New) USD $20.46 Buy It Now 1 day
Claudia Hirschfeld - Spectrum - Claudia Hirschfeld CD WCVG USD $23.48 Buy It Now 1 day
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SPECTRUM discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

SPECTRUM top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.15 | 15 ratings
Spectrum Part One
3.78 | 21 ratings
2.08 | 3 ratings
Warts Up Your Nose
3.07 | 5 ratings

SPECTRUM Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.08 | 4 ratings
Terminal Buzz

SPECTRUM Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

SPECTRUM Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

SPECTRUM Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.09 | 2 ratings
Breathing Space (EP)
3.00 | 2 ratings
Breathing Space Too (EP)
4.00 | 1 ratings
Breathing Space As Well


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Milesago by SPECTRUM album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.78 | 21 ratings

Spectrum Crossover Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars A double album havering between sophisticated progressive music and bluesy psychedelic pop, Spectrum's Milesago isn't some sort of wildly avant-garde cutting-edge thing; it's more like the product of a band who've listened to the Beatles' last few albums an awful lot and decided to see where they could go by mashing up that sort of compositional approach with early 1970s soft rock and pop developments. From the opening of the album, the vocal harmonies in particular feel like they have a certain Beatles touch to them. The other majorly Beatles-y aspect of the album is that, like the White Album, it's a bit of a sprawling album which can be a little inconsistent and is a bit much to listen through all at once, though it's fun enough in its own way.
 Spectrum Part One by SPECTRUM album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.15 | 15 ratings

Spectrum Part One
Spectrum Crossover Prog

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

3 stars From way down under comes this amazing (at times) bunch. Their second album "Milesago" is a terrific piece of hammond drenched hard rock prog, spiced just a tad with psychedelia. This their first album is very much a prototype to that album. Heavy on the organ, british in some mellow kind of way but sprinkled a bit more with the psychedelic spices.

The opening "Make your stash" is quite a good track, as is "Fiddling fool". The first opens in an eerie way, before heading into a mellow piece. The same could be said for "Fiddling fool", though this piece is decidedly more psych.

"Super boy" is a great track. Yet again mellow, with beautiful organ. "Drifting" heads into some jazzy rock territory. Quite good. "Mumbles I wonder why" is my favorite track. It sounds naive in an endearing way and offers fantastic organ playing. The next one "Launching place part 2" is really alright aswell. They end it all with the Manfred Mann's Earth Band track "I'll be gone". The original track may be better but this one really is interesting.

Overall it is quite an arlight album. Well played, organic and endearing. I really like Spectrum and the sound they make. They hold a tone of their own, quite Australian in that je ne sais quoi kind of way. It is good but when push comes to a shove it is no more than that. I would recommend "Milesago" over this but still, it has loads of charm an ideas.

 Milesago by SPECTRUM album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.78 | 21 ratings

Spectrum Crossover Prog

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Australian prog is not overly reviewed on PA. At least that is my conception. It may be wrong but I might be right. It seems, however, that Spectrum is not one of the most listened to bands on this site. Apart from a very precious few ratings and even fewer written reviews there seems to be little attention given to these proggers from Oz.

I bought myself this album as a christmas present back in 2009. The deluxe Aztec edition, I might add. Now, I am not reviewing that edition, though I strongly advise you to get a hold of it if you can. This review regards the original album as it appeared upon release in 1971.

The first thing to say about this album is that it is very raw and dirty, as far as the production is concerned. It is very heavy in parts, in no small part due to the excellent organ and guitar, of which both are very distorted. This fact makes me really enjoy the album. The rawness, alongside the quite impressive musical vision, gives the album an edge. I could compare it to a more progressive Deep Purple, circa 1970 - 1971. Overall, the musical ability is great. The vocals are heartfelt and gritty and the instrumentation is very well performed.

The songs ranges from rock'n'roll (But that's alright) to ballads (Love's my bag), hard rock (What the world needs now) to soaring progressive rock (Milesago) and all epic prog (The sideways saga). It is a great and somewhat eclectic collection of songs, which despite seeming sort of schizoid at first really merges together nicely.

My favorite track on the album has to be "What the world needs now". The track is driven by this unbelievable organ, distorted and played with such emotion. It starts off with this noise, made by the organ, resembling the noise made by the great Jon Lord on "Lazy" (from Made in Japan). It takes off and becomes this really outstanding song. If you are into organ, this is really a track to check out, as is the entire album.

As with any prog from any country, australian prog has it's own flavor and so has Spectrum. It is like a twisted form of british prog and I cannot point my finger at what it is. I do think, however, that in Spectrum's case it is a question of great musical vision, coupled with a psychedelic-progressive will, all mixed with a dose of "to hell with it all" and a sense of humour. It stands on it's own, majestically so. All in all, this album needs to be discovered by more people.

 Terminal Buzz by SPECTRUM album cover Live, 1973
3.08 | 4 ratings

Terminal Buzz
Spectrum Crossover Prog

Review by sl75

3 stars This live album captures for posterity the final concert of Spectrum & Indelible Murtceps, before Ray Arnott joined Mighty Kong (Australia's own post-prog supergroup a la Asia, except ten years earlier...we were ahead of the curve for once), and the rest of the band regrouped as Ariel.

The first disc features the Indelible Murtceps version of the band - ie upbeat, simple rocking songs with mostly scatalogical lyrics, featuring electric piano instead of organ. They were in a jamming mood that night, three of the four tracks stretch well past ten minutes, but not in a way that would greatly interest prog fans - they kept the groove and kept things simple.

The second disc focuses more on Spectrum material - the difference by now meaning Hammond organ, ponderous slow tempi, and rather anarchic playing compared to their much tighter Murtceps material. In the studio, relatively new keyboardist John Mills had begun to use synthesizers and other keyboards, broadening the Spectrum sound palette, but here on stage he restricts himself to organ - "Essay In Paranoia" suffers from the absence of the synth. He is a much more technically advanced and melodically inventive player than was Lee Neale, I enjoyed listening to the detail of his playing on the older numbers, however he lacks the 'fiery' sound of Neale. "Essay In Paranoia" stays relatively faithful to the studio arrangement, while "Superbody" goes off on a completely different tangent, and "What The World Needs" is also distinguished from it's studio version by Mills more structured playing.

The first new piece, "Crazy Song" begins promisingly, with an unusually (for Spectrum) chromatic theme that made me think of Gentle Giant or Syrius, and finishes equally strongly with a fast running figure, but in the meantime we get an awful lot of atonal noodling. It segues into a simple four-chord jam "Goodbye". From here they segue again into the inevitable "I'll Be Gone" before encoring with another new number "i Want To Know', which returns to Murtceps territory.

Although there is some good music here - this is certainly an album any Spectrum fan will want to own - one would have to conclude that they'd made the right decision to break up at this time. The album shows clearly the disconnect between the Spectrum and Murtceps personae, and the declining level of inspiration on the Spectrum side of the equation. The first Ariel album featured a much rejuvenated group of musicians, finally capable of reconciling their two musical personalities into something exciting and new.

 Spectrum Part One by SPECTRUM album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.15 | 15 ratings

Spectrum Part One
Spectrum Crossover Prog

Review by BORA

2 stars The band hails from my adopted country, Australia, where Prog was never "abundant". I may have heard this LP a long time ago. If so, then it didn't leave a lasting impression on me - for I can't recall. Recently, I was given the chance to hear it (again?)

Firstly, I feel terribly sorry for these well-meaning musos attempting to deliver some rather original material. Their difficult task in creating what resembles prehistoric Psychedelic material wasn't assisted by the recording process. Apart from that the material sounds like just a collection of demos, the mix is just horrible - and that's before we get to the artwork.

I was a bit taken aback by the vocals that don't sound anything I could compare with. Original would be the least I could say. More like indulgently experimental that compromises the entire works. A stroke of genius, or substance abuse - I couldn't possibly say, but it fails to impress.

The sound of the Hammond brightens things a bit, but apart from a few little runs on it, it's the actual rich sound of the organ that pleases - in place of the keys played. The bass player is definitely trying his best, but is left excessively loud in the mix thus, the somewhat amateurish delivery is further exposed.

The whole "album" tends to be devoid of any bulk, just repeatedly falling apart, due to indulgent gaps and a serious lack of arrangements. With some professional editing and mix this could be a 3 star work, but as it is I couldn't possibly call it good.

 Breathing Space Too (EP) by SPECTRUM album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2009
3.00 | 2 ratings

Breathing Space Too (EP)
Spectrum Crossover Prog

Review by sl75

3 stars It's the same band that recorded the first Breathing Space EP, and continues to sound very little like the original Spectrum.

Having said that, Rudd's songwriting is much stronger on this second release. His humourous side comes out on "Xavier Rudd Is Not My Son" (in case you're wondering, neither is Kevin his brother) and "Sensible Shoes" (a sequel to "What The World Needs Is A New Pair Of Socks"?), while "Hotels, Motels" is a poignant tribute to the struggles of his generation as they move beyond middle age.

Still not remotely a prog record, still not near the quality of Part One or Milesago, but as it's a step up from the first Breathing Space I think it deserves a higher rating.

 Breathing Space (EP) by SPECTRUM album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2008
2.09 | 2 ratings

Breathing Space (EP)
Spectrum Crossover Prog

Review by sl75

2 stars Why has the name Spectrum been resurrected for a band that bears so little relationship to the original band? Yes, Mike Rudd and Bill Putt are both involved - but Rudd and Putt have never stopped working together, moving straight from Spectrum to Ariel, and then to a succession of later bands including Instant Replay, The Heaters and WHY, on solo and duo projects, before finally deciding to take the Spectrum name for a project that has no more relationship to the original than any of these other bands. When Ray Arnott left Spectrum in 1973, that was considered to be sufficient reason to break up the band, even though the rest of the lineup and the musical direction remained intact into the first incarnation of Ariel. The new Spectrum does not have Arnott, or any other early member, nor does it sound much like the original band. So why? Other than maybe it's easier to get people to gigs, or to buy new records, when the Spectrum name is involved? That's the only reason I can think of.

Spectrum have actually been back on the live circuit for over a decade, and have previously released two CDs under the moniker Spectrum Plays The Blues. This initial 'reunion' was a three piece, with no keyboardist (something else I don't understand, when Lee Neale's organ was the most distinctive feature of the original band's sound). By the time they got around to recording the Breathing Space series, they had a keyboard player, but in contrast to the 'fiery' style of Neale or the multi-keyboard layering of John Mills, this guy is so self-effacing you barely notice he's there. The writing is low-key adult-oriented rock. The only time it starts to sound at all like the old Spectrum is on "Second Coming", during an instrumental break where the organ briefly cranks up (albeit with little more than some held chords) while Rudd plays the kind of hypnotic more-with-less guitar solo he was famous for.

It is good to see Rudd's humour is intact - in the song "I Play My Guitar" he notes "you say I play my guitar like I make love to you". Considering how famously self-deprecating he is about his guitar skills, this is pretty funny - especially since he gets former Ariel colleague Tim Gaze to play the solo! (And fine playing too)

The EP is not without its charms - but if you're looking for the Spectrum of the 1970s, you'll be disappointed.

 Testimonial by SPECTRUM album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.07 | 5 ratings

Spectrum Crossover Prog

Review by sl75

3 stars Although there was an attempt to keep the Spectrum and Indelible Murtceps personae separate, there was inevitably some confusion between the two bands, and so the next album was jointly credited to both entities. There was an attempt to keep a demarcation between the two though, each track being assigned to one name or the other, with clear instrumentation and genre differences. Instead of this diversity being a strength, as it was on Milesago, it becomes jarring. The Murtceps numbers are generally straight-forward boogie numbers (with apparently an ear to the success of Daddy Cool - the guitar riff in "Indelible Shuffle" is very reminiscent of their "Hi Honey Ho"), with keyboards restricted to piano. The Spectrum numbers are ponderous mid-tempo numbers with a fuller range of keyboard sounds (courtesy new member John Mills), including the first use of synthesizers, but little of the fire we used to get from Lee Neale - or from anyone else in the band. The best number on the album is the one Murtceps number to break the genre straightjacket imposed on each identity, "Real Meanie". The best of the Spectrum numbers are "I Think I Even Missed The Station" and Ray Arnott's grooving "It Would Be Nice". "Essay In Paranoia", apparently a stage favourite at the time, is the most overtly proggy in it's multiple sections and use of synthesizer.
 Warts Up Your Nose by SPECTRUM album cover Studio Album, 1973
2.08 | 3 ratings

Warts Up Your Nose
Spectrum Crossover Prog

Review by sl75

2 stars Despite a national #1 single in "I'll Be Gone" and two gold albums, Spectrum were near broke - the Australian market wasn't large enough to provide a large royalty income, and they couldn't get many gigs outside the small inner city circuit because their music was too complex - even a massive hit single couldn't get you gigs at the suburban dances that were still the mainstay of musical life in Australia. Spectrum were not the only band to adapt to circumstance by playing simpler, more commercial material at suburban gigs. However, they hit on an ingenious solution which allowed them to do so without compromising the credibility of the Spectrum name - they adopted an alter ego, the Indelible Murtceps (spectrum spelt backwards, geddit?) who would play the suburban dances, with less equipment, while reserving the Spectrum name for their more ambitious material. Murtceps developed somewhat of a following in their own right, which led to recording under that name. They had a minor hit with the double-sided single "We Are Indelible"/"Esmeralda" - the first song celebrating that "now we are sellable", while the other was a tribute to a hard-working prostitute. The album Warts Up Your Nose followed, and was a sign that band really weren't taking this too seriously. Most of Mike Rudd's songs are credited to "My Crudd", and, as the name suggests, most of them are throwaway songs concerned with scatalogical themes - "Blue Movies Make Me Cry", "In The Bog", "Excuse Me Just One Moment" (which captures the drinking culture of the gigs they were playing), "Hand Jive", etc. It's fun, but it's of no interest to prog fans. There are no organ solos, no atmospheric instrumentals (although there is a long jam in the middle of "Some Good Advice"), no multi-part suites - very little of what made Spectrum interesting in the first place.
 Milesago by SPECTRUM album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.78 | 21 ratings

Spectrum Crossover Prog

Review by sl75

5 stars By the time Milesago was recorded, Spectrum had already established their 'commercial' alter ego Indelible Murtceps, for which Mike Rudd was obliged to write simpler, more coherent songs. This sharpened his skills, and resulted in a much better material for Spectrum's second album. The first album was characterised by comparatively flimsy one-verse songs which then became the launching point for extended instrumental jams - if you preferred that side of Spectrum, it's still present in tracks such as "Love's My Bag", "Your Friend And Mine", "What The World Needs (Is A New Pair of Socks)", and "Fly Without It's Wings". But we also get some well-written short-snappy songs ("But That's Alright", "Untitled", "Virgin's Tale", "Tell Me Why", "Don't Bother Coming Round), some more structured long pieces ("The Sideways Saga", "Milesago"), and some psychedelic numbers that rely on more than one verse and a long organ solo ("Play A Song That I Know", "A Fate Worse Than Death", "Trust Me" - written and sung by new drummer Ray Arnott). Best of all, we get our first great glimpses of Rudd's sick sense of humour ("What The World Needs", "Virgin's Tale", "A Fate Worse Than Death", "The Sideways Saga", "Mama Did Jesus Where Makeup?"). Lee Neale uses a more diverse range of keyboard sounds, relying less on his 'fiery' organ (although it's still just as 'fiery' when it does make an appearance), and using more electric piano, with occasional harpsichord, clavinet and piano. In general, the more diverse sounds and songwriting approaches make this a much stronger record than the debut, one that is justly considered to be a high point of the early 1970s Australian underground/progressive rock scene.

The Aztec re-release includes several bonus tracks, including the single versions of "Trust Me" and "But That's Alright", b-side "Going Home" (somewhat of a sequel to "I'll Be Gone"), the rare soundtrack recording "Dalmas" (more in the style of the first album), a couple of live tracks from the Sunbury Festival of 1972, and a cigarette commercial! I'm glad to have these tracks, but unhappy they interfere with the original sequence of the four sides of vinyl.

Thanks to t.rox for the artist addition.

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