Like a particularly hopeless dame in an especially repetitive melodrama, indie rock, so the story goes, is perpetually in need of saving. It’s a strangely persistent narrative, one that makes the British music press seem like some poor old eschatological crank – forever raving about the second coming, then excusing and revising our predictions when they fail.
Is there something in the sound of guitars that fires up the sentimental and fatalistic wiring of our brains? And why do the bands heralded as saviours always sound as though they have listened to little more than that dread troika of the Killers, Kaiser Chiefs and Kasabian?
Spector, a sharply suited Dalston five-piece fronted by 24-year-old Fred Macpherson and his statement spectacles, are not the saviours of rock’n'roll, but it’s not their fault that they’ve been anointed as such. This debut arrives in the wake of headlines as overblown, dumb and appealing as their music, for which Chevy Thunder is a calling card: chugging lad rock, plus sweeping new romantic flourishes and all dials set to “anthemic”. That’s not necessarily as bad as it sounds and that sanguine album title (which sounds like a homage to the Strokes’ Is This It? – a debut more deserving of the messianic hyperbole than most) indicates the knowing humour in Macpherson’s lyrics and delivery.
When he sings the opening lines of Celestine – “Self-esteem, my self-esteem is at an all-time low” – it’s with the kind of expansive sweep that sounds like the opposite of low self-esteem. Macpherson has expressed admiration for Kanye West, but unlike him and his puppyish earnestness, Macpherson’s bombast comes mixed up with an arch facetiousness. In describing this record, he’s said: “It’s about the misery of trying to have a good time”, the sort of statement that prompts the question: “Are you serious?”
And the answer is no: the whole record, in fact, has a sense of karaoke to it, which is not so much down to the music itself often sounding like that of past, not necessarily irreproachable bands; rather, it’s down to his singing: debonair and often half-shouted or spoken, as though he doesn’t really mean it.
The karaoke quality is at its worst on Friday Night, Don’t Ever Let it End, with its pints-in-the-air, swaying sing-along chorus of “Friday night/I don’t wanna wake up alive”. But, just as a bar rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody demands you either leave or join in, repeated exposure to this record sees a kind of pessimism attrition sets in: there are worse things in the world than big fat hooks and easy, widescreen choruses.
The last track on the record is also their first single and encapsulates their blend of hubris and humour: why not, indeed, end your much-hyped debut album with a song that repeats the words: “You know I’ll never fade away”?
Original Post Link http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012/aug/12/spector-enjoy-while-lasts-review