Moth Boys is the sophomore release from London indie pop band Spector. This latest album is a sonic masterpiece that shows a band that has come to understand themselves and their music a great deal since 2012’s Enjoy It While it Lasts. Moth Boys predecessor was a great album that managed to reach 12th position on the British charts but it at times felt patched together and not entirely sure of itself. This new album is full of deep synthesizer and guitar mixes that will remind you of early Killers and Arcade Fire recordings.
“All the Sad Young Men” opens the album with that Killers sort of feel that sounds right at home on the Las Vegas band’s 2004 début Hot Fuss. The vocals from Fred Macpherson help make the comparison even sharper. After a beautiful little acoustic outro the album shifts gears to its first single and arguably best track “Stay High.” Funky guitar work from Jed Cullen and fantastic falsetto from Macpherson hook you into this little number and the interlude encourages you to take things to the dance floor with its deep drumming and infectious gang vocals. It is so easy to see why this song was the single as it is perfectly mixed for the dance floor and will likely be on repeat. Or at the very least stuck on repeat in your head.
If you ever move on past “Stay High” you’ll find that there is still a good deal of album left to get through. Drums take over in “Believe” as they play out deep and dark casting a moody tonal color to the album. Macpherson continues to show off how well he can play around with his vocal range by keeping it deep in the verses and then brining it up at least an octave or two for the chorus.
The next stand out song is the album’s second single “Bad Boyfriend.” The song is a lot lighter musically and the synth is not so deep. The overall sound is a little more like radio pop. This lighter approach continues to find its way through to the next couple of songs ending in the fantastically mellow “Kyoto Garden” which is a smooth acid trip though one of London’s most famous parks located on the west end of the city. On that topic, “West End” is the title of the albums next track. The song opens with a fantastic repeated piano arpeggio while Macpherson spits his most aggressive lyric so far but in a calm manner as he speaks the words
“I heard you started rolling with an older man, who knows European cities like the back of his hand. He bought you a necklace and a flight to Japan, fuck him.”
The pent up aggression of this song paired with its poppy sound make it a personal favorite.
“Lately its You” closes the album with calming female vocals and airy synth that eventually give way to Macpherson summoning his inner Brandon Flowers as he almost croons “Heaven let me down, it wasn’t worth dying for, you on the other hand could be.” This song displays the only problem with this album, which is the use of heavily modulated vocals. It works in certain cases but not in this one and it is a little bit of a bummer because minus those vocals it is one of the band’s best songs to date. This is partly because of a fantastic instrumental pick up as the outro kicks in that shows just how much the band has grown to be able to work together and does a stellar job of closing off the album.
The sophomore album can be your hardest album to release especially when there is pressure to outperform a début album that charted so highly. That pressure could explain a great deal of the three years it took for the band to release Moth Boys, but this is an album well worth the wait. It shows off a band that has grown together musically and has a sound guaranteed to be enjoyed.
Luke Williams grew up a fan of punk and pop punk in a field of cows just outside of Barrie, Ontario. You can follow him on Twitter @musicwithluke