Spector first appeared on our radars in 2011, at a time when all of the guitar bands that could afford a synth machine were the soundtrack to an awkward silence on Made in Chelsea. Since their hyped up beginnings, they have been delivering some brilliant anthemic indie-pop hits to a fairly small corner of the internet (see Chevy Thunder from their debut, for example). They’ve recently been a bit off the radar, but they are definitely back and simply just better, with this glitteringly melancholic second album released on Fiction Records, Moth Boys.
Their debut album, Enjoy it while it lasts, released 3 long years ago, was hotly anticipated at the time and added credibility to the hype surrounding their first few singles. This new album in comparison sounds like a more mature band both emotionally and musically – they have clearly had plenty new experiences since the angsty teenage debut (the majority with women who’ve pissed them off a fair bit, it seems). This reinvention of sound could be due to the departure of guitarist Christopher Burnam in 2013 and the resultant shift around of the line up; Jed Cullen is now on guitar, Danny Blandy does an amazing job throughout on keyboards and Tom Shickle is on bass. Fred Macpherson’s achingly deep voice, however, remains the telly to which all the sofas are pointed at, and deservedly so with it’s rich, thudding grace.
The new line-up seems to frame Macphersons flawless voice better than ever before, whilst still remaining rooted to their stadium-inspired indie pop with knotty guitar flicks that crescendo into anthemic choruses in the first two powerful tracks. The first, ‘All the sad young men’ shows off all the money the band have earned to buy themselves some glossy new synthesizers as well as loads of ale, with lyrics seemingly written the morning after a regrettable night out in Shoreditch surrounded by gorgeous rich idiots. The second track also released as a single back in May, ‘Stay High‘, is in Fred’s words ‘about keeping yourself distracted while everything around you goes to shit”. Like much of the album, it is based on the mundane reality of modern romance, ‘we don’t need set menus or 241 codes’ being repeated convincingly throughout. The second half of the record slows things down a bit, especially so with the sob-inducing ‘Don’t make me try’. It’s a tale of lost hope when it comes to love/getting laid – lyrics like ‘Your flat is only half a mile away, i miss you, don’t make me try, not in front of them’ ending with a glimpse of guitar to stop you finding the nearest pint of whiskey and being done with life completely.
Among the melancholy of Fred’s bad luck in love, the synth instrumentation throughout is comparable to Pulp and 80s disco, very refreshing in the solid beige guitar-band age. Witticisms & glittering guitar hooks make up the next track ‘Bad Boyfriend’, a slightly unremarkable track leading to the last song of the album, ‘Lately it’s you’. An amalgamation of all the bands inspirations, including a slightly muse-esque drum fill. It finishes the album off with the same beautiful sadness that created the band, ‘If you weren’t on my mind I’d have no mind to be on… a broken fucking record’. It seems a little bit ill-fitting with the power of the first two tracks, but then can you blame them for lapsing a bit when their heads have been so wrecked by girls for so long?
They say great art comes out of the darkest of times, and judging by this album, as long as girls never stop abusing these boys’ poor souls, Spector will continue to produce bloody great records for a long time to come.
A solid 8/10 from me – be sure to see Spector live in Bristol’s THEKLA on the 13th October, definitely worth leaving Wales for.