Between the foppish hair, wry romanticism, ironic wit, and that album artwork it appears that Spector are positively begging for Roxy Music comparisons. Unfortunately, outside a knowing sense of self parody and penchant for synths, there is nothing of Roxy’s madcap brilliance to be found on Spector’s debut album Enjoy It While It Lasts. Instead, Fred Macpherson, a naturally frontman who continues to search for the right vehicle for his delectable croon, has far more in common with Brandon Flowers and The Killers than he does with Eno and Ferry.
There’s no shame in this of course, there’s plenty of millage left in the slick marriage betwixt melody and synth. Fred can certainly carry a tune, delivering as many good lines as he does cringers (“Heard he was your rock, does that me me your hard place?”), unfortunately Spector already appear consigned to second place. Their hooks are tinged with hesitation, and their debut album feels simultaneously restrained and resigned. “Chevy Thunder” and “What You Wanted” strike the right poses but pull their punches. Spector are so married to ironic underperformance that they simply can’t let it all hang out – they deny themselves the thrills of naivety.
It’s a shame. When they really hit their stride on “Celestine” they prove irresistible – sweeping up every young heart in their path. The atrociously titled “Grim Reefer” belies a swooning romantic anthem. It’s heavy handed r’n’b posturing may appear thin when compared to the real thing, but it provides a touching, unguarded moment on an overly sheltered LP. Enjoy It While It Lasts is soaked in a thick layer of distracting studio sparkle, the entire album gleams frustrating, and any real emotional risk is buried beneath overly cute punchlines and knowing hesitation. Spector could have achieved greater things if they had left their inhibitions at the studio door, but for the time being they’re crafty, catchy, and utterly insubstantial. David Hayter