Enjoy It While It Lasts

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The fact that London five-piece Spector were the only traditional guitar band to appear on the prestigious BBC Sound of 2012 lineup tells you everything you need to know about the sorry state of the current British indie scene. Motormouth frontman and occasional MTV presenter Fred Macpherson may have been hailing the band as the saviors of rock & roll, but there's little to back it up on their debut album, Enjoy It While It Lasts, a record that, even with six different producers on board, struggles to remain indistinguishable from the other groups' valiantly trying to revive the genre's fortunes. Had it been released in the mid-2000s era when the likes of Razorlight, Kaiser Chiefs, and Hard-Fi ruled the charts, the laddish pub rock of "Friday Night, Don't Ever Let It End" and the wannabe terrace anthem "What You Wanted" might have been embraced in the same manner as, say, "I Predict a Riot" or "Living for the Weekend." But nearly a decade on, they just sound tired. Despite the sharp suits, Pulp-like kitchen sink tales and Macpherson's debonair Bryan Ferry-esque delivery, Spector appear just as inspired by the not-so-distant past of their American cousins. The angular garage rock of "Twenty Nothing" is the kind of track the Strokes would have knocked out in their sleep during the period when they were similarly hailed as guitar music's great big hope, while the double whammy of opener "True Love (For Now)" and "Chevy Thunder" recalls the blue-collar stadium rock of the Killers at their most fist-pumping. The muted trip-hop vibes on "Grim Reefer," the New Romantic crooning of "Lay Low," and the appropriately Phil Spector-ish pop of "Grey Shirt & Tie" suggests there's a much more interesting band buried in among the meat-and-two-veg riffs. But when Macpherson sings "you know I'll never fade away" on the grandiose closer, "Never Fade Away," you can't help feeling he's being a little optimistic.

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