The Spectral Spectrum’s career was brief but eventful. Hailing from the small seaside town of Sunnyport, they drew on their coastal influence to create a heady blend of surf and psychedelia. This had the unfortunate effect of making them seem simultaneously ahead of their time and out of date, although they maintained a solid base of fans in their lifetime.
The first single The Call of You Hoo failed to make much of an impression on the charts despite a catchy singalong chorus, but the second Love is a Many Tentacled Thing became a summertime hit in 1965. The band were immediately signed by the Mokshatonic record label and released their biggest hit, a ballad called The Mountains of Sadness. They recorded and released their debut long-player Colour Out Of Sight! in 1966 whereupon they carried out a tour of the UK.
The tour was plagued with bad luck, with equipment failure and strange events at almost every stop, which rather blunted the impact for the audience and led to terrible reviews. Nevertheless, the band returned to headline the famous Sunnyport Free Festival in 1967 to great acclaim, the nadir of their success.
Whether it was the ill-fated tour, the pressures of fame and success or just the natural temperament of the band, the recording sessions for the next release were highly acrimonious. The original plan was to record a concept double LP tentatively called The Dreams in Which House? In the end, barely five tracks could be culled from the sessions and these were released with the rather sarcastic title Done With Honour. An abortive second tour ended early when the band’s entire stage set was destroyed by flooding in Worthing.
Lead singer Harry Blayne went on to be an experimental sound poet, releasing his first book “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Sunnyport” in 1969. Guitarist Ed Hutchinson joined Rocking Rodney and his Rockettes, a jazz quartet whilst bass player Phillip Ward opened a musical instrument shop in Sunnyport. Drummer Henry Pott moved to London to join the New Originals.
In three short years, these young men cut a swathe across the UK with their visionary music. These days, beyond a few musicians “in the know” their music is largely forgotton. It is our hope this little article may remedy that fact.