Album Review: Moth Boys // Spector

“Good things come to those who wait” is how the saying goes, but ‘good’ is an adjective which simply doesn’t do Spector’s sophomore album, Moth Boys, justice.

Following on from their 2012 debut, Enjoy It While It Lasts – a record cherished by the bands small but nonetheless devoted fanbase – this release set for 21st August seems set to catapult the indie rock outfit into the mainstream. Spector laid the foundations for this move when they played a series of gigs as part of a Topman promotion earlier in the year; they showcased their ability to put on a rip-roaring live performance, as well as illustrated their capacity to produce catchy sonic constructions to a much larger audience than their indie Twittersphere.

It’s a well-known fact that the second record can make or breaks artists; too much of a change in sound and you risk being accused of selling out. Similarly, producing a record which could just be a handful of B Sides from your first album is unlikely to keep your fans interested. You need a cocktail of familiar and new sounding songs, and it’s safe to say Spector have aced it. For fans who love the exhilarating sing-a-long anthems ‘Celestine’, ‘Twenty Nothing’ and ‘Chevy Thunder’ there’s now ‘Decade of Decay’; tactically released as a demo back in August 2013, it bridged the gap between old and new, effectively paving the way into this new sonic territory, which is laden with spacey synths (closer ‘Lately It’s You’ is a real gem), and calypso infused grooves. For fans who adore the simplicity of chanting back the chorus to ‘Never Fade Away’ there’s ‘Don’t Make Me Try’ – “don’t make me try / not in front of them”, which will undoubtedly become an emotionally wrought staple of the bands set.

Although first listen through the number of slower tracks, particularly ‘Kyoto Garden’ and ‘Cocktail Party / Heads Interlude’, feels out of kilter with the bands usual exuberance, it places the stress on the lyrical detail of this record.Moth Boys is generally rather despondent in tone; something gleaned immediately with opening track ‘All The Sad Young Men’, which boasts the apathetic chorus “I don’t wanna make love / I don’t wanna make plans / I don’t want anyone to wanna hold my hand”.

There seems a bizarre dichotomy running throughout – the album is both a celebration and rejection of 21stcentury romance. In ‘Stay High’, Macpherson reels off a list of “the ways that we show our love”, noting set menus, two for one codes and how when there’s “one socket left I let you charge your phone”; then in ‘Bad Boyfriend’ he laments “your technology, your pills / I can’t take you higher”, seemingly suggesting that our relationships are addled by different kinds of addictions – to technology, to narcotics, to attention. This is enhanced by ‘Using’ – it seems everyone is “feeling shit / we don’t know what’s wrong with us”.

Whilst we got teenage angst in abundance with the motorcade of kids heading to the party, now we’re getting a far more complex set up of “grown up” problems. The Chevy Thunder is still on the driveway – we’ve not let go of our youth just yet – but we feel a bit stupid driving it now. We go out to a club, meet a pretty girl and try and take her home, but it’s wrong. So wrong. We have arguments in taxis, we’ve lost touch with people who we thought would “never fade away” – a feeling summed up in ‘West End’, a track which competes with ‘Mr Brightside’ in terms of bitterness: “I heard you started rolling with an older man / knows European cities like the back of his hand…  how does it feel / to know you could’ve been mine”.

Granted, this record is not as much fun as Enjoy It While It Lasts was. But, life is not always fun – therefore this record is a lot more raw and relatable as a result. The cut throat cynicism of Macpherson’s lyricism, combined with a more synth propelled sound is going to make for really emotive live shows. You’d be an idiot not to catch Spector at as many dates as possible on their UK tour this October.

Moth Boys is out on the 21st August and you can pre-order it from the bands website here, as well as buying tickets to their UK tour. 

Rating: 9/10

Words by Beth Kirkbride