Release Date: Aug 21, 2015
Record label: Caroline
Since the release of their debut ‘Enjoy It While It Lasts’, some things have changed for Spector. Having used their first record to declare themselves the self-aware champions of bombastic indie rock’n’roll, they soon realised that perhaps that wasn’t the path they were set to tread. 2013 saw the departure of their guitarist Christopher Burman and their instrumentation priorities began to shift.
Moth Boys is a record that's been made on the back foot. In 2012 Spector were positioned as the last of the British indie vanguard. Fronted by the endlessly quotable Fred Macpherson and with an irrepressible thirst for singalong anthems, their debut album was an all-too slick amalgamation of the past decade's greatest alt hits. 'It's like looking back at a picture of yourself when you had a shit haircut,' says Macpherson of Enjoy It While It Lasts_.
When London five-piece Spector released debut long player Enjoy It While It Lasts in 2012, they were mining a quarry that would have been more timely had it been a decade earlier. Inspired by The Walkmen and The Killers, they had more than a passing resemblance to the latter in particular, their indie guitar rock often focused around the anthemic. But they didn’t seem to know what they wanted or who they really were, only that they enjoyed making pop songs.
In contrast to doomed contemporaries like Tribes or Viva Brother, Spector were smart enough to recognise that for most major-label ‘indie’ acts, success is an ephemeral thing. You might get 18 months of foreign travel, free alcohol and favourable reviews of your first album, but after the rushed, under-performing follow-up, your cards are as good as marked. So, with the fatalist clink of a half-full champagne flute, they named their 2012 debut ‘Enjoy It While It Lasts’ and set out to do just that, their earnest – if slightly quixotic – pastiche of the mid-noughties indie of their young adulthood finding enough of an audience to sustain them through a wider indifference to the genre.
In an age in which seemingly every new guitar band collapses under the weight of the hype around their debut by bowing to label pressure and recording a sub-standard follow-up, it’s refreshing to hear a second effort as intelligently crafted as Moth Boys. While it doesn’t represent an out-an-out reinvention for Spector, instead this feels like a lesson in the art of ‘the difficult second album’; it retains the best bits from debut Enjoy It While It Lasts - the soaring pop hooks, contemplative lyrics and sense of character - but makes subtle improvements that lead to a far better record than their first. Spector's breakthrough was defined by comparisons to The Killers, and frontman Fred MacPherson's love for grandiose, sing-your-heart-out indie anthems is ever-present still.