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Video of the Moment #1898: Spector

 
By on Tuesday, 25th August 2015 at 6:00 pm
 

Spector just released their second album ‘Moth Boys’ last Friday; read Carrie’s review of the LP here. This week, they have a new promo for the song ‘Cocktail Party’ from their latest effort. More Duran Duran than too serious, bespectacled Fred Macpherson, it was filmed in the Bahamas, is filled with scantily clad women and is the model of hedonism. Not exactly what I expected from Spector, but they did want to do something different the second time around. Watch the video below.

‘Moth Boys’ is out now on Fiction Records. In addition to the in stores the band are doing this month to celebrate the release of the new LP, they’re also on tour in the UK in October. Our archived collection of Spector-related coverage is this way.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_SDKU8eAaQ0[/youtube]

 

Album Review: Spector – Moth Boys

 
By on Friday, 21st August 2015 at 12:00 pm
 

With a revamped roster and production assistance from none other than the multi-talented Dev Hynes (aka Blood Orange, formerly Lightspeed Champion), London alt-pop quartet Spector are set to release their highly-anticipated sophomore album ‘Moth Boys’. Slick and streamlined, the new album is noticeably more synth-centric than the band’s energetic 2012 debut LP ‘Enjoy It While It Lasts’, and also much more ponderously deliberate in its overall ambience.

Frontman and lead vocalist Fred Macpherson channels the vocal style of Editors’ Tom Smith in this set of morose and melodramatic songs, taking advantage of his dark and ominous baritone timbre to convey the ostentatious misery in his lyrics through the course of the album. Though there are a fair few upbeat dance tempo tracks, even these tend to drag a bit, weighed down by Macpherson’s lyrical bitterness but also by the narrow, self-absorbed musical focus, which comes across as a very conscious effort by the band to take themselves more seriously.

The album opens with a strong sequence of tracks, starting with early single ‘All the Sad Young Men’, whose angular instrumental lines and pulsating rhythm underscore the rather bratty recurrent declaration “I don’t want to make love / I don’t want to make plans / I don’t want anyone to want to hold my hand”. Current single ‘Stay High’, which we featured recently in this live video, is similarly uptempo with a sharp guitar lick behind the double-tracked vocals in the chorus “stay high / you know tomorrow is a lie / and maybe so you and I” and is immediately followed by the shimmering disco hall effect of ‘Believe’.

The pretentious lyrical theme of emotional detachment begins to wear thin by the time fourth track ‘Don’t Make Me Try’ rolls around, its conceit showing through in the lines “these emails I draft but never send / works of art you couldn’t comprehend / I miss you / don’t make me try”. The song’s drone-like keyboard tone is likewise abrasive, but its crisp percussion and backing vocals redeem it somewhat, as does the subtle mood shift at the end when the title line changes to “don’t make me cry”.

The lengthy ‘Cocktail Party – Head Interlude’, co-written by Hynes, contains some of the album’s most dramatic and desperate lyrical imagery over bright keyboards and a skipping percussion rhythm that keeps the momentum going as Macpherson imagines the object of his affection “smearing off last night’s lips / you’re running from a 2 AM kiss / he makes you think about yourself / I hope you make it home”. The rhythm drops out in the coda, and a thin wash of synths leaves a lingering sense of desperation.

The jazz inflection of early single ‘Bad Boyfriend’ is a welcome change of pace in the middle of the tracklisting. While its gloomy lyrics are more of the same, alternating between insult and self-deprecation, the vivid harmonic colour in its chorus is one of the album’s most memorable musical moments.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/cRz93s8F_gs[/youtube]

From that point forward, the album slides from the morose into the purely maudlin. ‘Decade of Decay’ is precisely what you’d expect from a song with that title, and ‘Kyoto Garden’, while inventive in its musical references and rhythmic pulse, is a lyrical morass of depression centering around the lines “so what am I supposed to do / if I was you I’d hate me too / I get it”. The bitter jealousy of ‘West End’ dampens that song’s ragged dance tempo, while final tracks ‘Using’ and ‘Lately It’s You’ drag and plod into aimless self-absorption.

Spector were clearly feeling the weight of expectation after the success of ‘Enjoy It While It Lasts’, and it appears that they may have neglected to take their own advice. ‘Moth Boys’ is an intricately planned successor, but its meticulous machinations have left it completely devoid of joy. It might have been better off trimmed to an EP or even a more concise and focused shorter album. As it is, the album’s first half is a good listen, with songs that are more instinctive and visceral as compared to the intellectually and emotionally contrived later tracks.

6.5/10

Spector’s sophomore LP ‘Moth Boys’ is out today on Fiction Records. The band will tour the album through the UK this October; you can find the listing of live dates by clicking here. Previous TGTF coverage of Spector is right back this way.

 

Live Gig Video: Spector perform ‘Stay High’ in front of fans at the 100 Club and Lexington in London

 
By on Thursday, 13th August 2015 at 4:00 pm
 

Spector have announced they’ll be releasing a new single the same day their new album comes out. ‘Stay High’ As described by the band’s frontman Fred MacPherson, ‘Stay High’ “is about keeping yourself distracted while everything around you goes to shit…When all that’s left of your relationship are dates booked on Groupon and your sense of adventure’s dictated by the offers on lastminute.com it’s hard not to want to dislodge yourself from reality permanently.” After witnessing it first-hand for myself and seeing some friends going through a particularly rough patch lately, I can certainly relate.

The promo they’ve filmed for it is culled footage from the band’s shows in London in March at the Lexington and at the 100 Club in April, and the claustrophobic manner in which the footage was filmed makes it feel like you’re right there in the thick of it. You know, when those overly excited fans accidentally push you while they’re dancing, or that annoying git waves his arm in front of your face, obscuring your view for half the show in his overzealousness to connect with the band. Oh yes, live gigs, gotta love them.

‘Moth Boys’, their new album, will be released on Fiction Records on the 21st of August, alongside the ‘Stay High’ single. Catch Spector live on their previously announced October 2015 UK tour, and this month during their series of in-stores and signings (appearances listed below the video).

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skYcvaNwpgM[/youtube]

Saturday 22nd August 2015 – London Sister Ray Ace Hotel
Sunday 23rd August 2015 – Bristol Head (1 PM)
Sunday 23rd August 2015 – Marlborough Sound Knowledge (5/6 PM)
Monday 24th August 2015 – Wakefield Wah Wah (1 PM)
Monday 24th August 2015 – Leeds Jumbo (5/6 PM)
Tuesday 25th August 2015 – Newcastle Reflex (1 PM)
Tuesday 25th August 2015 – Stockton on Tees Sound it Out (5/6 PM)
Thursday 27th August 2015 – Kingston Banquet Records
Thursday 27th August 2015 – Kingston Banquet Records New Slang (full show)

 

Spector / October 2015 UK Tour

 
By on Tuesday, 7th July 2015 at 9:00 am
 

Header photo by Sonia Melot

London indie rock quartet Spector have just announced a UK tour for this October to follow the release of their new album ‘Moth Boys’, which is due out on the 21st of August via Fiction Records.  You can watch the video for the album’s first single ‘All the Sad Young Men’ just below the tour date listing.

Tickets for the following shows are on sale now.  For previous TGTF coverage of Spector, click here.

Tuesday 13th October 2015 – Bristol Thekla
Wednesday 14th October 2015 – Birmingham Library
Friday 16th October 2015 – Nottingham Rescue Rooms
Saturday 17th October 2015 – Manchester Gorilla
Sunday 18th October 2015 – Newcastle Cluny
Tuesday 20th October 2015 – Edinburgh Electric Circus
Wednesday 21st October 2015 – Glasgow King Tut’s
Saturday 24th October 2015 – Sheffield Leadmill
Sunday 25th October 2015 – Leeds Brudenell Social Club
Tuesday 27th October 2015 – Brighton Patterns
Wednesday 28th October 2015 – Oxford Academy 2
Thursday 29th October 2015 – London Heaven

[youtube]https://youtu.be/KQlMvtMI-II[/youtube]

 

Liverpool Sound City 2015: Day 1 Roundup (Part 2)

 
By on Thursday, 28th May 2015 at 2:00 pm
 

Part 1 of John’s coverage of Friday at Liverpool Sound City 2015 is this way.

Sticking with the theme with big chugging riffs in a warehouse, loud enough to make the meek and wimpy head for exits – not a daisy chain headpiece in sight – Yak were the next band on The Baltic Stage as the day became more and more Baltic in temperature and people gathered in the confines of the warehouse to escape the near arctic winds coming in off the river Mersey. Their bluesy Band of Skulls-esque riffage was enough to get everyone grooving at the front of the stage, despite the acoustics of the warehouse playing havoc with Oliver Burslem’s vocals. (6/10)

It was the turn of one of the big hitters next, or was it?

WHERE’S YOUR BAND, DEBBIE? As four Parisian musicians stepped onstage, the look of collective bafflement spread across the venue. Where were Slaves? A quick search on #SoundCity15 led me to the conclusion that they’d pulled out to another collective look of bemusement and a united sigh of disapproval. Oh well, on the bright side it meant I didn’t miss the triumphant return of the bespectacled groovesters of Spector, who were next up on the Atlantic Stage.

Now these guys were met by *yet another* collective look of bemusement. That’s not Frederick Macpherson, they’ve changed frontman! NO, he’s just gone hipster 2.0 and grown his hair down to his neck. Still, despite a wee change of hair-do could Spector build the anticipation to their new record? The answer, a resounding and still endearingly dapper YES. With all the charms and singalongability Spector brought on their delightful debut, the five-piece Hits like ‘Chevy Thunder’ had the now sizeable crowd standing on the precipice of the Mersey jumping up and down without due concern. While new track ‘Bad Boyfriend’ is the kind of heart-meltingly warm live track Spector are going to make their own over the next year of touring and promoting. Macpherson still has glorious presence on stage and while his band seem to keep the personality to a minimum by staring blankly into the Liverpool sky, Macpherson manages to carry the energy of the entire group and make a stunning show. (8/10)

Starring as the penultimate act on a strong bill were Everything Everything who get extra points in my boom as their guitarist Alex Robertshaw is from sunny Guernsey. They admit it’s been 18 months since they’ve graced a festival stage, but you’d struggle to believe it as they’re tighter than a cat’s bumhole – in musical terms that is. In the space of around six years they’ve gone from a band with a quirky new sound, to indie pop behemoths with a serious reputation amongst the industry. Jonathan Higgs voice remains one of the most unflappable and tonally malleable in the industry. Every note is perfect, and when you have to hit the kind of ranges Higgs is, that’s no mean feat. The tunes are still as inventive and quirky as the first time ‘MY KZ UR BF’ became an immediate hit and catapulted them into the mainstream consciousness.

The band as a unit looked impeccable in their faux-jester robes – the point of which I’m yet to put my finger upon. The set is a hit after hit affair, with a fair bit of audience reaction to each of the more well-known tracks like ‘Kemosabe’ and ‘Cough Cough’. The latter proving a huge success as it built to its noodling crescendo. One thing is for sure, this set was one which loosened the hips of half the audience, with 90% shaking and shimmying in the small space they had on the docklands. (8/10)

Once the sun had set around 10 o’ clock and Everything Everything had departed the anticipation started to build for the night’s headline act. When I asked around, ‘what were most people looking forward to on the Friday’ barring the rather null answer of Slaves there was only one other constant: The Vaccines. My first thought was, with two albums each clocking in around half an hour and a third one imminent; they’d struggle to fill one and half hours. The second one was what a frontman Justin Hayward-Young is becoming – he’s got just the right amount of arrogance to pull off the look he’s going for.

Rockstar credibility is in toe as he petulantly throws his mike stand around the stage for the roadies to pick up after almost every song, and the pride to know from minute one to the time they make their bow (no encore) that he’s got the crowd eating from the palm of his hands. It’s a set chocked to the nines with hits, which every one of the crowd can sing along to, not matter the demographic. The new stuff goes down well, but it’s the tracks from ‘What Did You Expect From The Vaccines’, especially ‘Norgaard, which go down the best. A splendid end, to a full-on day! And the music only started at 5. (9/10)

 

Live Gig Video: Spector play ‘Chevy Thunder’ at London Birthdays on Dr. Martens’ #STANDFORSOMETHING Tour

 
By on Wednesday, 20th November 2013 at 4:00 pm
 

I’ve been wondering what Spector have been up to, and the question in my mind was answered by an email this week. Last month, the band headlined a show at Birthdays in East London on the Dr. Martens’ #STANDFORSOMETHING Tour, and here’s a performance of Fred Macpherson and co. playing the American-sounding (to me) ‘Chevy Thunder’. Watch it below.

A while back, we also posted this live video of Young Guns performing on the same tour in Bristol.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=556FKJp4dGo[/youtube]

 
 
 

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