Monday, 20 August 2012

Review: Spector - Enjoy It While It Lasts

 Some people have been viewing them as the last great hope for UK guitar based music (and are probably wrong, they'll be plenty more) while other people have been viewing them as that weird looking band fronted by that weird looking bloke that wears weird looking glasses, but London quintet Spector have undoubtedly made a name for themselves over the past twelve months, whether it's being nominated for the BBC's Sounds of 2012 poll (A poll that has never been kind to metal fans, or recognise that they exist), touring with indie pop superstars Florence + the Machine or performing at just about any indie friendly festival you can think of off the top of your head. And with this major buzz surrounding them, they release their debut full length Enjoy It While It Lasts, where it's apparent that the weird looking band fronted by an ex-MTV presenter are actually as passionate about great music as MTV are not.

 From their statements of bands that influence them, The Strokes, The Killers, Roxy Music, there's nothing more than rock music altered to it's most indie suited setting, but it's very much indie rock performed with a high indie fervour. It opens with the soothing buildup of milky synth backdrops that make up True Love (For Now) accompanied by the irresistible baritone of the panned lead singer Fred Macpherson executed with a reminiscence of some of the best vocalists the 2000's indie explosion gave us, in the vein of Tom Smith of Editors and Harry McVeigh of White Lies. There lies an unpredictability of what the song will build into at this point and if you're sympathetic towards alt rock in any way, you'll surely find the splash into synthesizer laden power pop melodies to be a sweet payoff.

 It would be easy to state this sets the tone of the album because hook filled indie rock anthems are what's on offer and anyone that disagrees with that after hearing the smashing hooks of Chevy Thunder is... deaf. However, the crystalline production of Craig Silvey, who has already lent his talents to R.E.M., The Horrors and Arcade Fire is just as appealing a feature across the album, as delicate keyboards bleep warmly across Grey Shirt & Tie while symphonic backdrops sprawl beautifully amongst Upset Boulevard. The charm and emotional output put into the album has such a high level of triumph and emotional output that perfectly identifies the tone of the song that it's difficult to describe them save for that they truly drag you into the world of the band's message that you can stay and be immersed within even if you don't care for hook filled indie rock.

 While elements of this album will be picked up upon for being nothing more than simple laddish indie rock that relies on big choruses (Friday Night, Don't Ever Let it End) and the claim being made that Spector are going to be the people that can save guitar music is ridiculous, there's so much beauty across the music of Enjoy It While It Lasts. This song combination makes the likes of Celestine hopelessly uplifting, while the synth heavy Grim Reefer and Never Fade Away divert from such notions by providing an absorbing work of hip-hop inspired backdrops that many fellow indie acts wouldn't dare to venture.

 And the idea that Spector might be the saviours of guitar music is probably so ridiculous sounding because the work of synthesizers are far more advanced and wonderful than anything else you'll hear from other indie bands. The production of Enjoy It while It Lasts is simply spectacular and is only complimented further by the vocals of Macpherson and simple but powerful guitar work from Chris Burman and Jed Cullen. So you are wrong if you view Spector as the last great hope for UK guitar based music and you're right if you view them as that weird looking band with that weird looking lead singer with the weird looking glasses. But if being weird and thinking outside of the box can deliver results like this, then I'd rather be a weirdo than a saviour any day.

Spector's Enjoy It While It Lasts is out now via Fiction. The band will play at Reading and Leeds festival from 24th-25th August and will tour the UK from October-November with Splashh, Swim Deep and LULS.

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