Spector – Enjoy It While It Lasts, Album Review

September 6, 2012 12:00 pm

Album titles are a complex business. Some are relatively simple, hinting at what you’ll find on the album (The Drums’ 80s pop inspired Summertime EP, for example, the perfect soundtrack for messing around in the sun); some are nothing more than witty comments from the band (such as Arctic Monkeys’ debut effort Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not); others are just downright infuriating; why, Crystal Castles, why would you self-title both of your albums?! However Enjoy It While It Lasts, the first album by London indie collective Spector, has become the latest addition to the list of unintentionally ironic album titles, with the enjoyment of the music waning as the album progresses.

On the first listen, Enjoy It While It Lasts is noticeably an album released at the wrong time; the simple riffs and rousing choruses present throughout the album would be much more at home in the early noughties, rubbing shoulders with early Killers and Strokes efforts, than in 2012. Yet the notion that the album has come about ten years too late is not the issue with Enjoy as music exists in a constant cycle and every artist, whether consciously or not, draws on earlier work for inspiration. No, it is the disappointing lack of variety between songs that really holds the debut effort back, not quite living up to the hype that preceded its release.

Prior to Enjoy…, Spector’s discography originally comprised of five singles, all of which appear on the album. Though all clearly in the Spector style, even when listened to together, the five songs were different enough to stand up on their own, and suggested exciting promises that the much-hyped band would hopefully fulfill. However, when included on the same work, the songs lose their individual charm, and you begin to notice the similarities across the album. It is as if Spector are using the same basic mould for all of their songs; all the ‘upbeat’ songs on Enjoy… follow the patterns established in ‘Chevy Thunder’, the first single to appear on the album. By the end of the album, you feel as if you have heard the same song on repeat, not exactly what you want from an album costing £10 in some record stores.

The five-piece also ignore the old adage ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ in their quest to surpass expectations with their debut effort. Previous singles ‘What You Wanted’ and ‘Celestine’, appear as a double whammy towards the end of the album, and both receive reworks. In ‘Celestine’, this takes the shape of a slowed down version of the chorus, tacked on the end of the main body of the song; pointless posturing by a band who cannot afford to do so at this stage in their career. ‘What You Wanted’ really suffers from this treatment, the excitement of a great song both live and on record is extinguished as the band try to take it to places it does not need to go, the result sounding like the band are holding back somewhat. It was the early singles (along with the fantastic show the band put on live, regardless of lead singer Fred Macpherson’s divisive personality) which earned Spector its impressive fan base; to tamper with the basis of one’s success seems a strange move…

Enjoy…is an easy, if uninspiring, listen. Singer Fred Macpherson’s vocals recall Tom Vek (who coincidentally was involved in the production of three songs for the album), a voice distinctive enough to stand out but not so much that it puts people off. Most of the songs retain more than a hint of blandness: sixth track ‘Lay Low’ falls on the wrong side of the line that divides slow, interesting songs from durges, the kind of filler track you would expect on a fourth album, not a first. However, there is only one true clanger on the album: ‘Upset Boulevard’, a run of the mill indie tune that culminates in a strange, slightly sinister and extremely out of place PSA against music piracy. Again…pointless posturing.

This is the problem with the hype machine. Perhaps, had there not been so much around Spector’s debut, it might have been more enjoyable than it was. However, like many much-hyped debuts, it misses the mark and frankly, you would be better saving yourself the money and just buying the first five singles.

Tags:
%d bloggers like this: