Spector – Now or Whenever

The UK’s most introspective indie act, Spector, became the antithesis to the idiomatic with their new album, Now or Whenever. With a six-year stint between studio albums, the release was eagerly awaited by fans enamoured by their resonantly morose and wit-laced, yet dance-worthy, signature sound.

For all of Spotify’s sins, it was a Daily Mix Spotify playlist that introduced me to Spector via their single I Won’t Wait. Beyond the Joy Division atmosphere weaved around the punchy high-octane guitars, the lyrics gripped me, “Gave up drinking, read the classics but I’m still so-so-so-so-sociopathic,” “running through the promises we never keep, why is my contract so expensive if I talk so cheap.” With that introduction came the affirmation that Spector is one of the most essential artists on the airwaves right now.

After a gloomily ethereal intro consisting of little more than reverb, the album hooks you in with the defiantly euphoric single, Catch You on the Way Back in. It’s a breezy blasé indie rock effigy of indifference, the kind of indifference we learn to adopt for purposes of self-preservation. Above the slamming drums and overdriven guitars, the candor grips you with the entropy-laden lyrics “everyone’s a loser when there’s nothing left to win,” “I don’t want to drink, I want to drown.”

I’m Not Crying, You’re Crying kicks things down a gear, but none of the paradoxical apathetic-yet-endearing nature of Spector is lost in this melancholic, synth-led, standout single, which allows an internet idiom to turn into a confessional, cathartic sonic experience. 

The following track, Bad Summer, frenetically picks the momentum back up with stadium-filling guitars that would give The National a run for their money, and fiery vocals that are nothing short of electrifying after I’m Not Crying You’re Crying has rhythmically lulled you into repose.

This Time Next Year is yet another sonic shift for Spector. The Elliott Smith-Esque finger-picked guitars take the lead in the stripped-back track that proves that whether they’re creating anthemic radio-ready hits, or tender and intimate proclamations of discontent, few can do it better than Spector.

The LP ends on the tear-jerking single, An American Warehouse in London; above the flurry of synth notes, crunching guitars, and entrancing beats, brevity spills from Macpherson’s vocals as he works through the lyrics that awaken you to the frustration that spills from simply existing—especially if you’re of an artistic inclination.

Beyond Spector’s obvious songwriting talent, it is their ability to humbly present themselves as the ultimate aural confidants that truly grips you throughout Now or Whenever. They’re all the best parts of Bukowski, Camus, and Sylvia Plath, combined with sonically implanted triggers of dopamine.

Now or Whenever was released via Spector’s label, Moth Noise on January 7th, 2022. It is now available to stream on all major platforms and available to purchase on vinyl, CD and limited edition cassette. Check price on Amazon.

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