Ecstatic to see Spector perform in Manchester this month, I along with many fans was devastated when the band was forced to postpone the tour until the spring due to Coronavirus. Almost three years ahead of the beginning of the rapid spread of the virus in the UK, it is no more heartbreaking now than back then when we cannot see our biggest heroes don the stages of the venues we love and are so keen to support. Whilst I was eagerly anticipating Spector bringing their new album to life on stage, it by no means disappoints reverberating from the speaker in my bedroom.
Released January 7th 2022, the London-based band’s fourth album has a lot to offer. Whilst we know Spector are partial to a rapid tempo, the group of five have created tracks on this piece that fulfil their desire to be upbeat but are not rushed. These songs are not overworked or aiming to achieve a particular image, but are modest, mature and honest for what they are. The album shows Spector taking their time to produce a cohesive, solid body of work.
Immediately forcing us to throw our expectations out of the window, the album opens with an ethereal, minute-long instrumental. It sets the scene of a dark city on a rainy evening which can be depicted from their album art. The band soon pick up the pace though with ‘Catch You On The Way Back In’ which unleashes an untamed, fast-paced guitar riff. The track is undoubtedly catchy, and has made it to Spector’s fifth most popular song on Spotify. The song comprises of speedy verses that could be the first song played of the night, juxtaposed with patient choruses that could resemble the last one – a pleasant contradiction. This shows Spector are no longer letting excitement take over their now-controlled signature style.
‘Norwegian Air’ gravitated me immediately with its appealing name, and continued to impress me as I listened. In this track we really hear lead vocalist Fred Macpherson’s classic tones which he truly devotes to the sound of Spector, and it throws us back to old time favourites such as ‘Fine Not Fine’. With a chord progression not dissimilar from ‘Catch You On The Way Back In’ and ‘Funny Way Of Showing It’, this song compliments those surrounding it, and is part of the same conversation continuing throughout the album.
The most impressive part of this alum though, is the final two tracks ‘This Time Next Year’ and ‘An American Warehouse in London’ where the band have not been affraid to explore slow tempos and deep lyrics. As the album comes to a close these two songs bring closure and reflection with well-crafted melodies and unexpected instrumentation. The latter displays an impressive range of Macpherson’s vocals and would fit perfectly at the end of their setlist.
‘Now Or Whenever’ has exceeded my expectations in terms of its maturity, emotiveness, and its success as a cohesive album. The tracks on this piece blend together well whilst still making their own statement. They are in conversation with one another. I do hope that Spector are not shy about including these songs into their spring setlist as I cannot wait to hear them live.