Enjoy It While It Lasts
, August 23rd, 2012 08:28
Overthinking. It can be a hard thing to get your head around. It can also be a hard tag for a band to shake. Since Spector first came out, suggestions that they're not quite for real, not quite taking this music thing seriously, have dogged their well-shod heels.
Perhaps it was the sense that, as labelmates of Florence, with a frontman formerly in two other talked-about bands (Ox.Eagle.Lion.Man and Les Incompetents), they weren't exactly scraping their way up from scratch. Perhaps it was Fred's often hilarious, sometimes dilatory onstage rambles. Perhaps it was that weird thing where some people decided they were part of some sort of '2007 revival'. But more than likely, when people say that Spector are 'ironic' or whatever, they probably just mean 'why is he wearing those stupid glasses?'
The way that, like a modern-day Morrissey with less shite-talking, Fred Macpherson has stuck true to both specs and quips and let Spector's songs speak for themselves through this year's festivals to the tune of a No 12 album is a triumph. A triumph against the overthinkers who thought Spector were the overthinkers. I think.
But to those songs: 'True Love (For Now)' starts out all keys and reverb, stalking around the Roxy/ABC vibe-space hinted at by the album's girls'n'cars'n'leopards cover before being dress-shoed out of the park by the sort of by-the-throat chorus you have to be one really, really miserable twat to roll your eyes at (and you'll find the comments box in the usual place, down the bottom, sirs). For all its giddiness, for all the snappy smartness of the lyrics, there's a sadness running through this song and the whole album, and end-of-your-twenties combination of premature nostalgia for your youth, a fear of what comes next (more of the same? Oh god...) and an admission of cluelessness made more poignant by the record's carpe diem carpe-diem dancefloor-lust.
The comparisons to the school of 2004, your Franzes, Killers et al, ring true, but there's also the bloodline of particular kind of British indie, one obsessed with sad glamour, high drama and whip-smart words – more your Long Blondes, your My Life Stories. "A quarter life crisis, teen Dionysus / Collapsed in the back of a car / I never saw it turning out this way..." croons Fred, later urging "Hold me, let's fake a memory / Pretend it was all real / And we never got bored and we never got lonely". 'Twenty Nothing' with its romping bassline and itchy rhythms, starts with a drive to a party and ends up with Fred's dire warning "there's a part of me you should never see / Maybe I'll always be twenty-nothing..."
It's not all what-are-we-all-doing-here wobbles, though – or at least, every existential agony is buouyed up or swept away by drums, guitars, giddy keys that promise life goes on, and well, fuck it, eh? So says the self-explanatory, key-spangled, hot-fussin', 'Friday Night, Don't Ever Let It End' (well, apart from the "I don't wanna wake up alive" bit...). So says the organ hammering, mile-a-minute bone-rattle of 'Chevy Thunder' ("give me a minute while I fix my tie / Give me a minute while I take my life"), the gutsy chantalong stomp of 'What You Wanted' with its sizzling little licks... the fantastic 'Celestine' with its glimmery keys, haring drums, Fred's cries of "the night's not long enough / We're not strong enough now". And that's before we've even mentioned the crowning glory, the divine slow-clapalong of 'Never Fade Away' with its heartbreaking vocal trills and catastrophic, pulling-down-the-pillars climax.
It's all in the album title, Enjoy It While It Lasts - these are great, smart, rushingly lovable songs. If you're finding a way not to like them, you're probably thinking while you should be listening.