As I walk away from Spector’s gig at Thekla on Tuesday, I have an overriding sense that I’ve just been reminded of what truly great rock gigs are like. In the wash of controversial and socially relevant new music that has been released this year with the likes of Peace, Arctic Monkeys and The 1975s incoming inquiry into society, Spector provide a refreshing relief with music that promises nothing but great tunes and huge fun.
The band open the show with a three-song non-stop intro, featuring the slow building ‘Bad Boyfriend,’ ‘Local International’ and garage guitar hit ‘Twenty Nothing.’ It is a tribute to the bands success that the audience takes the reigns with the lyrics, letting front-man Fred Macpherson take a backseat and watch his fans’ slow descent into madness.
Spector then launches into the first track of their new EP ‘Ex Directory,’ released late last year, with leisurely song ‘Untitled in D,’ a more mature track with the impressive lyrical chorus ‘You’re not like the other guys/Institutionalised/Competition on their minds/’Till they’re commodified.’ The band doesn’t lose momentum for a moment, continuing into Moth Boys track ‘Stay High’ and Ex Directory single ‘Fine Not Fine;’ songs which demonstrate Macphersons notable vocal range, emphasised by supporting harmonies in ‘Stay High’ and powerful isolated vocals in ‘Fine Not Fine.’ This tune definitely adheres to the trend of songs addressing mental health in an oppressive society with lyrics such as ‘And I’ve never been myself/I just follow orders’ and ‘You say it was just our age/Blame it on the experimental phase.’
In between the ‘irresistibly melancholic’ songs ‘Wild Guess’ and ‘Cocktail Party,’ MacPherson interacts with the audience like they are old friends. His infectious attitude and midday-drinks sense of humour puts him on the list with the most down to earth front-men since Chris Martin and Justin Young. He lends the mic to the incensed audience in ‘Chevy Thunder,’ stopping midway to stage the perfect live gig photo which is an endearingly authentic act that wins the audience over even more, culminating in a member of the crowd getting on stage to share the mic with the front-man. Tireless choruses and sing-along bridges matched with memorable hooks, are the highlight of Spector’s set, but succinctly don’t detract from the artful rockiness of the verses. ‘Never Fade Away’ is a song of self-love, whilst new track ‘Tenner’ epitomises Spector’s sound: millennial angst meets sing along pop melodies.
The last two songs ‘Friday Night Don’t Ever Let It End’ and ‘Sad Young Men’ are alive with soaring guitar riffs and effervescent instrumentals that wouldn’t be out of place amongst indie-rock peers such as The Maccabees, The Killers and Razorlight. The whole set reaches every corner of the venue and the boat rocks with the anthemic singles. Through Spector’s profound mastery of lyrics, they have presented us with three albums which are essentially the diary of a narcissist, and the live renditions are a tribute to the last remnants of British indie rock.