Following the release of their enigmatic debut Enjoy It While It Lasts, Spector seemed to slip into something of a self imposed exile. This lengthy hiatus stirred up a genuine concern among some that Spector would only ‘last’ one album. Long awaited though it was, the release of follow-up Moth Boys quelled those fears and it seemed that at least for the people of Newcastle, with an in-store signing tour, that lengthy wait was all but forgiven.
The promotional poster in the window of Newcastle’s Reflex Records & CD store promises a ‘stripped back’ session and allowed Spector to pass the test of every band worth their salt – even when barricaded in behind the bare minimum of their equipment in the corner of a modestly sized record store, their material still stands up to scrutiny. Debut album closer ‘Never Fade Away’ still carries with it an epic atmospheric feel that would be befitting of any festival stage. The melancholic dirge of ‘All The Sad Young Men’ seems almost indistinguishable from its studio version and even without its 80s-esque synth pound, ‘Decade of Decay’ still packs a punch.
By contrast, Fred Macpherson’s performance is far from stripped down. He works the 3 square feet of floor space he has at his disposal for all it’s worth and nor are his wit and charms in short supply. “This is like The Beatles’ last gig on the roof,” he quips at the end of a modest reimagining of ‘Chevy Thunder’. “But it’s just Spector’s first gig at Reflex Records. Equally iconic.” As the band nears the end of ‘Kyoto Garden’, he spots a bargain, scooping up a Kasabian LP from a nearby rack and scanning its sleeve inquisitively.
While this was a quickfire and low-key set, it serves as something of a blurb as to what Spector are all about. As comebacks go, this is quite a humble one – but it’s reassuring to see that a band who’ve struggled to set a foot wrong so far aren’t looking to break that habit any time soon.
Words by Thomas Johnston