While UK indie rockers Spector
claim they’re not
named after iconic producer Phil Spector, there’s enough to merit comparison. Just as Mr. Spector rose to fame with his influential Wall of Sound
, so too is the band’s sound rather layer-centric, combining chunks of everyone from Pulp to, more glaringly, Roxy Music. But where Spector the man was temperamental
, Spector the band is fun-loving, with their debut LP, Enjoy It While It Lasts
, a synthesis of pure pop that connects with listeners through ceaseless enthusiasm.
That gusto offers the album powerful and intangible qualities. It makes the shouting harmonies and screeching vintage synth of “Chevy Thunder” sound like some otherworldly dragster, ready to transport the young couples of the world to a realm of perpetual love molded by a godlike Bryan Ferry. It’s also the source that sustains the energy of “No Adventure”, which tells the story of a couple in a rut (“We’re too old to die young/ Yeah, we just play our part/ Adventure in our head/ No adventure in our heart”), and features a guitar march ripped from Brian May soundtracking a mid-’80s Tom Cruise flick.
Even ballads like “Never Fade Away” are still jam-packed with momentum, with the handclaps and chanting chorus (“I’ll never fade away/ But if I do, it’ll be because you asked me to”) making for an anthemic ode to the importance of love over self-preservation.
There are instances, though, when the band’s infectious zeal manifests awkwardly, resulting in slightly more underwhelming tracks. “Twenty Nothing” continues the UK rock scene’s love affair with exploring the frustration of Peter Pan syndrome, soundtracked by stereotypical garage guitar and lackluster shouts of inadequacy. Though less clichéd, “What You Wanted” is an inferior version of the band’s anthemic side, a number where the life-affirming energy is snuffed out by a bland and somewhat muddled chorus call (“I could give you anything except (What you wanted, not what you wanted)”).
But that’s a tendency of truly worthwhile and meaningful pop music: Wear your heart on your sleeve and never be afraid to scream your emotions from the highest peak, even if some of those displays of life are less profound and impactful than others. It takes a really important band, like Spector have proven to be, to never stop making noise while perpetually revealing more of themselves.
Essential Tracks: “Chevy Thunder”, “Never Fade Away”