Review: Spector – Here Come the Early Nights

Artwork for Spector's Here Come The Early Nights album

There’s still fuel in the tank of Spector’s Chevy.

Longevity in music, what’s the secret?

The answer is probably in a combination of shrugging off all the bad stuff and having some fun with it; for most artists their day in the sun is brief.

Spector were formed by Ox.Eagle.Lion.Man frontman Fred MacPherson upon their dissolution and dropped onto the BBC’s Sound Of 2012 shortlist (which Michael Kiwanuka topped and fourth place was taken by Skillrex).

Even from the outset it was evident that the quartet weren’t taking things too seriously, and looked at both life and career through a partially fatalistic lense; calling their debut album Enjoy It While It Lasts and one of the tracks Friday Night, Don’t Ever Let It End.

This is definitely a good thing when your meta employer is so unforgiving. Seven years elapsed between their second release (Moth Boys) and the third (Now or Whenever, which arrived in January 2022). Speaking at the time, MacPherson was still talking about following up the first one, a need for a sense of place he justified with: “It’s taken us that long to work out what’s good about us and how to capture it. Which kind of makes Now or Whenever both a sequel and a reboot.”

Sequeling? Rebooting? This time Here Come The Early Nights is neither, but equally for those who’ve stuck around with the band through thick and thin(ish), not unfamiliar.

In this spot experiences definitely help the songwriting process, regardless of what they’ve schooled you in. On opener The Notion the lyrics seem full of references to the death by a thousand cuts of age – whether it’s, ‘Fractures in your hairline’, or simply asking, ‘What happens after the after’. Conceived originally on a surprise day off, the melancholy is dulled with lusty synths and even features a muscular guitar solo from Dev Hynes, the result a squaring up of future and past which thematically takes up much, if not all, of the rest of the record.

It’s a little icky, but perhaps this is the sound of a band growing up with their audience, the ultimate collection of empathetic olive branches. Here, Room With A Different View takes the grown-up job of moving house and turns it into a sort of epic sounding journey. It’s also less engagingly a prime (but not the only) example of wordily going off topic, featuring apparently plucked at random non-sequiturs like, ‘Mid-century modernist theory/Luxury lethargy/Minimal monotone legacy’. Maybe it was a late-night nappy change too much.

Presumably if you’ve read this far it’s almost pointless stating that ‘Surprise!!’ is not an emotion the accustomed will feel, but that’s OK. Closer All Of The World Is Changing has that syncopated bounce which Brandon Flowers used to love, although Not Another Weekend and Another Life by contrast never really seem to know what they want to be and leave mostly blank mind spaces behind.

With everything going to hell then another hell after that, it’s refreshing that MacPherson and co. are still aware of their strengths, still taking melodrama and throwing it into shapes we used to call indie disco back when happy hour was for drunks. Time for one more?

Driving Home For Halloween, the title-track and Some People all roll around the glass waiting for ice, the latter with a chorus that simply won’t be un-imprinted in the brain.

The key to longevity in this vicious business? Hear nothing, see nothing, say nothing, just play something. Eternal life is for wimps.

Here Come The Early Nights is Spector proving just that.

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