It’s a strange thing, hype. It used to be a double edged sword, but now it feels like an accident slowly happening in front of the eyes of a million cynical bloggers waiting for the next pincushion. Even when a band gets a good review to go with the hype, they might get backstabbed in the future (see the recent rash of bad reviews – unjustified too!- directed at Maps & Atlases last album).
Swear to God/Jebus/Dawkins/Gilmour, I’m befuddled by the amount of hate this band it getting from the major sites. Sure, it’s not perfect, but by no means is “hits with filler” or a “mediocre” album. It’s not perfect, but I just can’t grasp the nature of the hate this band gets.
If anything, it feels like what happened with Wild Palms last year, a band who I personally enjoyed (review), and, just like Spector, it got panned, being compared unfavourably to U2 and Coldplay. Uh?
Mind you, if I had to compare Wild Palms to anyone, it would be Spector! Not only because of the aforementioned (unjustified) hate, but because they tap into that 80’s atmosphere so well. And I don’t mean the synth heavy revival we’ve seen in recent years (which has produced some ace bands), but more about a certain brand of 80s pop, with Wild Palms being the more atmospheric and brooding, while Spector being more the carefree, Wayfarer-sporting one.
Heck, think of Spector‘s Enjoy it while it lasts as a Trapper Keeper: slightly gimmicky, quite functional, easy on the eyes and endearing. ‘True love (for now)’ is the best choice for opener and the perfect buddy for ‘Chevy Nova’, the catchiest of them all; a proper feel-good track (think ‘Boys of summer’). Equally peppy is ‘Celestine’, with the easy going chorus that goes for a celebration mood (nicely juxtaposed with the slower moments and the synth loveliness). However, ‘Twenty nothing’ is where the real meat lies. Put it in a mixtape just before Kim Wilde‘s ‘Kids in America’ and you’ve got a pretty nifty gift. Heck, put ‘Celestine’ followed by Wild Palms‘ ‘Delight in temptation’ and you’ve got a winner.
There are slower moments. ‘Grey shirt & tie’ is slightly mournful and ‘Lay low’ is the slow dance moment (good call on the strings), a bit more on the dramatic side, but we all have a heart (broken or not, that’s up to you). ‘Grim Reefer’ is an utterly beautiful track, starting slow and steadily growing in sound (and darkness). A bit of fun is had too with ‘Upset Boulevard’ having a short soapbox moment regarding piracy.
It could’ve been a perfect EP, but as an album, it still works, although it feels it could pack a bigger punch. But hey, if it gives Spector space to grow and develop (instead of sealing their fate/style), I’m all up for it. Listen to it in sunny days (or pretend it’s sunny and listen to it anyways).
Words: Sam J. Valdés López