Saturday, September 1

Album Of Last Month

Spector 'Enjoy It While It Lasts' (Fiction Records)

Indie, as you might have noticed, has gone somewhat missing in years past. Sure, The Vaccines' latest single cracked the Top 40 (sneaking in at No. 37), the fat one from The Pigeon Detectives is still no doubt rocking it solo down his local's 'Live Music' nights, and Ricky Kaiser Chiefs managed to convince himself that doing karaoke with Chris Moyles was as meaningful as some Radio 1 airplay.
But generally speaking, the days of Brandon Killers and said-Ricky gleefully knocking around an A-ha cover like there was no finale to their indie dominion are all but a distant memory. It's fair to say the only conspicuous guitars tucked in to by the masses over the last 12 months have been those insipidly MIDI'd within David Guetta's GarageBand. It ain't been pretty, people.
Then come Spector, five fly LDNers who grew up on 'Hot Fuss' et al and, judging by their debut album 'Enjoy It While It Lasts', plan to stick peppy, razor-edged, G-stringed anthemia (aka Good Fucking Indie) back on the frontline. "This is the indie rock record every kid in the UK has been waiting for," declared Fred Macpherson, charismatic frontman™, earlier this year. Mmm, power-talk; but how exactly?
'True Love (For Now)' opens proceedings in a swift manner, while it's clear straightaway Macpherson has a few bones to pick with his exes. "If it's my blood that you need, then ask me where I've been tonight and listen carefully," he instructs, all Roxy Music for the 'Fifty Shades' generation.
Then 'Chevy Thunder's supersonic guitars and sugary synths really set the scene for his strutting, low-pitched vocal, as he romanticises: "There's only so many ways to wake up next to you, but every single time feels like I'm waking up anew." It's as big and brave as anything the class of 2005 ever fashioned, that's for sure.
The lovesickness continues on 'Friday Night, Don't Ever Let It End', another all-out anthem laced with a Wombats-but-smarter spirit and pop-mad refrain so catchy even RiRi could nick it… fine, not RiRi, but it's damn poppy! "The honeymoon was over before the wedding had begun, the Tropic of Capricorn left melting in the sun," Macpherson begins of his heartache, before drowning in the balls-deep harmony: "Friday night, I don't wanna wake up aliiiiive."
There being a feel of humour and farce to such sorrowful wordplay makes Spector all the more captivating. This too is an honest, glum but merry album; experience it live and it's bouncier than Space Mountain.
'What You Wanted' - where pounding drums happen on schmaltzy, mega strings - is just sculpted for the mightiest of stadiums, and there's no shame about that. 'Celestine', meanwhile, is everything a band like the Kaiser Chiefs wish they could have formed; it's rip-roaring, perceptive and, most importantly of all, goddamn FUN.
The album's closer, 'Never Fade Away', is evocative of how 'Is This It' ended all those years ago, all slushy nostalgia. "You know I'll never fade away. But if I do, it'll be because you asked me to," Macpherson croons by means of a love-conquers-all dispatch. His soul is in pieces but he ain't quitting; it's hopeful. Not to mention the as-touching violin twanging away in the background.
Frankly, 'Enjoy It While It Lasts' is an astonishing debut album. The boisterous, sharp guitars and honeyed synths aside, Macpherson's blue tales of love and heartbreak are charged with pure wit and sensitivity. He gets that happiness is momentary; it doesn't last forever, but it exists on this record.
What with his Jimmy Saville-spawned suits and Danny from 'Grease'-esque slicked-back hair, Macpherson could be alt's new leader if given half the chance. His individuality is all what indie should represent.
You could accuse Spector of 'overproduction', but why not shoot for the glossiest of quality levels if the tech gear is there? These songs - no, hits - are so psyched up to suck out the electro-house schlock currently chocking the charts, how can citizenry - that's YOU, kids! - not take note? 2012 called; it wants indie back.

Best Track