It was back in 2012 that Spector released their unhopefully titled debut Enjoy It While It Lasts. Their highly successful first album slotted into what contemporary critics were hyping as a mini rock revival. Flanked by acts like The Vaccines, Spector recorded an LP that was as carefree as it was tongue in cheek, a vibe exemplified by its explosive lead single Chevy Thunder.
From the get-go with Moth Boys, it’s clear that Spector have gained a different perspective on life in the intervening period. “It was meaningless now as it was meaningless then,” Fred Macpherson croons in the chorus of opening track All The Sad Young Men. These lyrics are amongst the frontman’s finest as he aptly evokes the feelings of being directionless, which are familiar to any young person. Similarly good are Bad Boyfriend and Stay High, crushingly candid reflections of passionless relationships defined by discount museum tickets and bonding over hating people. The latter especially stands out from the rest of album, with its bouncy upbeat guitar licks juxtaposed with depressing lyrics. Thereafter Spector successfully foray into dance pop on Believe and the intriguing rhythm and organ sounds of Don’t Make Me Try complete a great first half of the album.
However, the album is frustratingly uneven at times, with good material interspersed with the filler-like Cocktail Party, which drags at close to five minutes and goes nowhere. It always puzzles me when bands label a track as an “Interlude”, seemingly suggesting that the listener needs a breather from more interesting songs. At the back end of Moth Boys, the frustratingly airy Kyoto Garden drifts on by with no real melodic hook to grasp onto, before the jittery piano riff and catchy chorus of West End provide a bright moment in an otherwise uninspired second half.
The second album is never easy and Spector seem three years wiser and three years more cynical about life, which is clear from the sound and especially the lyrics. This album loses the playfulness of the debut and replaces it with a more mature intensity, which isn’t a bad thing – when the songs hit the mark Macpherson has lost none of his knack for writing a great chorus. However, towards the second half, the album becomes overly ponderous and not nearly as much fun to listen to. Despite that, this a solid second effort overall – as they promised in Enjoy It While It Lasts, Spector do not seem to be about to fade away anytime soon.