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Reading 2012 Review: Spector

Last year’s most hyped indie band traditionally finds sanctuary on the Friday NME stage – Vampire Weekend, MGMT, Florence  + The Machine, Friendly Fires, Mumford & Sons, Two Door Cinema Club and most recently The Vaccines had graced the same slots in recent times. This year however has seen a pitiful number of acts lay claim to the spot and only Spector have managed to make enough headlines to snatch people’s attention.

Debut Enjoy it While It Lasts charted modestly at number 12 and reviewers have been polarized, from Q’s scathing one star review to NME’s 8/10 and seemingly everything in between. The great splash of the next saviours of indie rock has been little more than a ripple. But no one seems to have told the crowd that. From the opening beats of Celestine the tent is transformed into a pulsating throng of teenagers. Frontman Fred Macpherson is on top form, dazzling the ‘temporary structure,’ as he eventually dubbed it, with delightfully verbose witticisms.

The problem is that Spector aren’t actually very good. Sloppy drum beats and the most basic of guitar solos are what Macpherson’s showmanship masks, as well as song structures that make The View look like Radiohead. They’re like Paris Hilton; aesthetically pleasing but with less intelligence than a dying mole. Think The Vaccines with keyboards and a good singer.

Still, not a single person would have left without Chevy Thunder embedded in their mind if it wasn’t for the even catchier Never Fade Away, a bombastically potent number that was the biggest sing-along of the weekend so far. Their status as a crowd pleaser was cemented as the final chorus was chanted over and over long after the band had left the stage. An excellent showing by a band that, in all honesty, don’t have a very long future. They’ll certainly enjoy it while it lasts. Joe Pape

With their much anticipated debut album Enjoy It While It Lasts released just a week and a half before the festival, Spector’s set was expected to be vibrant, energetic, and bursting at the seams with Fred’s incomparable banter. It was just that, the London lads appeared on stage to a large, welcoming audience; Indie fans had gathered from all four corners of the festival to marvel at the latest, coolest band in town. They play a setlist that’s typical of their performances: The already released songs are the best received, a slightly ropey rendition of Celestine doesn’t deter the new die-hards from screaming “Keep the past in the past and notice that I only ever did what I thought was right”. ‘Friday Night, Don’t ever let it end goes’ down well too, with people singing along to all of the words already.

‘Twenty-nothing’ proves to be one of the more favoured new releases from the album, with its upbeat rhythm and catchy, poppy call-and-response type chorus. A few more songs from the album ensues, but ‘Chevy Thunder’ is undoubtedly the best song of the set, appearing as their penultimate song, the entire crowd are jumping and singing along, in what will surely be an indie anthem for years to come. As always the band finish with ‘Never Fade Away’, with customary clapping that’s almost become routine in their sets, with the mega-fans raising their hands in preparation just as Fred announces it’s time for their last song. The band depart the stage, applauding their audience with smiles all round. Whether you enjoy Spector’s music or you just find them to be the typical, pretentious indie-pop band, there is something that has to be said for Spector: They’ve played the music market incredibly well.

Before they even started off on the BBC Introducing stage in 2011, they were already tipped by Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens to be a band of the future… despite the fact that they’d only officially released one song, and they were nominated for the BBC sound of 2011 with an almost non-existent back-catalogue. They were announced to play half-way up the NME stage on almost nothing more than one EP and a hunch! This decision paid off, they pulled a sizeable crowd and definitely pulled off one of the better sets of the weekend. Jack Alexander

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