Spector/Swim Deep/Splashh

Oran Mor, Glasgow, Thursday, October 11

NME
Photo: NME
It’s easy to see why Spector provoke sniffiness in certain quarters. Yet as indie withers on the vine commercially and its bands respond by affecting an air of sneering nonchalance and dressing like early-’90s Creation signings, that Fred Macpherson and his H&M models have managed to build a small but dedicated following should come as no surprise. Redolent of a more innocent time, when an impassioned, mid-song “Woah-woah-oh-oh!” wasn’t anything to blush about, Spector mythologise the drama and desperation of a mid-noughties indie disco in the same way The Libertines once did Albion. For this reason, they tend to divide opinion; for that reason, it’s easy to have a soft spot for them.

Spector clearly crave massive, trans-indie success, though the title of their debut album, ‘Enjoy It While It Lasts’ is an admission of how remote it can often seem. Their tourmates appear less bothered: Birmingham’s Swim Deep are one of the most exciting bands in the UK’s most vital scene, but though being third on the bill rarely brings out the best in anyone, their performance tonight is rather passive and bloodless, right down to bassist Cavan McCarthy’s pyjama bottoms. Splashh, meanwhile, fare better. Though you have to work to excavate their melodies from beneath all the scuzzy guitars and reverb-drowned vocals, the opiated dream-pop of ‘Need It’ and ‘All I Wanna Do’ ensure the effort is worthwhile, and considering they only formed earlier this year, there’s a frightening amount of promise on show.

This, however, was always going to be Spector’s night, and from the opening ‘Friday Night, Don’t Ever Let It End’ (it’s actually Thursday, but the sentiment is undying) onwards, Macpherson’s smarm offensive proves irresistible. One minute he’s down on his knees, debonairly combing his hair during the guitar solo on ‘Lay Low’; the next he’s making wisecracks, like the last of the internet-famous international playboys, about how, “If you want to hear more music and less talking, you can buy our album. If you want to hear more talking and less music, find me on Facebook.”

The crowd are happy to indulge him, but Macpherson does more than simply give good quote. At their best – we’re thinking of the Springsteen-on-snakebite melodrama of ‘Chevy Thunder’, or the honest, unself-conscious emotion glimpsed at on ‘Grey Shirt & Tie’ – Spector write superlative pop songs with the only aim being to entertain you. What’s more, they frequently hit their mark: with luck and justice, the mass metronomic clap-along of set-closer ‘Never Fade Away’ will be replicated on far bigger stages than this one. Ultimately, they might not be a band you’d want to put your life in the hands of, but your weekend? Well, that’s another matter entirely.

Barry Nicolson
The Wisdom Of Spector's Fred MacPherson The Wisdom Of Spector's Fred MacPherson
Video: The Wisdom Of Spector's Fred MacPherson

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