Single Review: Spector – ‘Never Fade Away’

“A song that feels starkly sober, but pointed and honest by the time it reaches it’s swirling finale”

5 STARS

Digital Release: August 13, 2012

Physical Release: N/A

There’s been a lot of pretentious posing and ineffectual attempts to imprint deep artistic value into hackneyed concepts in the past ten years of the world of indie rock and indie pop. Amidst bands with embarrassingly awkward names and even more awkward stage presences, clutching onto their bottles of mineral water and repeatedly readjusting Brylcreemed side-partings, there are few that are worth the hype conjured by press and the unstoppable online blogosphere. Spector conform neatly – check the suits – into this niche and do very little to protest otherwise with plenty of vintage references and not-so-subtle airs of winking fabulousness, but before anyone starts wincing at the thought of yet another sharp-suited, indie-fied rock band with Yamaha synth melodies and twee little guitar rhythms with obvious riffs baying to the popularly unpopular opinions of the minority, Spector may actually be worth the hype made about them. 

‘Never Fade Away’ strips itself of pretty much every pretension indie bands have eluded themselves with in recent years. While some still seek joy in subjugating only the hipster market and skipping around behind their own anonymity, Spector knowingly toy with the notion, sitting somewhere between sky-high chorus melodies of The Killers and Kaiser Chiefs circa. 2005, so whilst they’re not anything we haven’t seen before, and nor are they rid of the lead weights of dropping buzz singles here, there and everywhere or enjoying being every bit the posers they appear, there’s an element of humour to their more upbeat work, and a striking honesty to their slower work, the latter being where ‘Never Fade Away’ falls.

Beginning with a simple line “You know I’ll never fade away”, the song very obviously and very firmly sets it’s lyrical ambitions low and remains constantly simple, but that’s one of it’s strengths – it’s not complex enough to scan as poetry or some epoch-defining philosophy and it’s not plaintively spoken enough to reveal simple truths about life. It is simply a song that many of us still holding onto past relationships can relate to. And as the production, incorporating a pleasant organ swell, sparse guitar and cascading drum riffs, joins Fred Macpherson (of Ox.Eagle.Lion.Man and Les Incompétents) the song slowly gathers steam before climaxing as a myriad of space-filling sound and Macpherson’s vocals sounding distant and convincingly desperate – if there’s one thing learnt from Macpherson’s time spent in his three bands, it’s that he’s never been one for distancing himself from his lyrics; something that seems like a breath of fresh air and a moment of aural clarity above the hustle and bustle of people hastily instilling deep thoughts into lyrics that simply can’t carry the weight.

‘Never Fade Away’ is a pretty simple song, even on Spector’s terms, and it’s sentiment is even simpler. It’s got a basic structure and it’s got basic lyrics that aren’t afraid of the odd cliché or residual airs of portentousness, but best of all is, as a result, it’s rid of all the affectations that most indie bands – including Spector in some circumstances – try to embellish their music with. Instead of being drunk on it’s own haughty expectations it’s happy enough to exist as nothing more than a song that gently taps into our more emotive side, and it feels starkly sober, but pointed and honest by the time it reaches it’s swirling finale.

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