Spector’s knack for witty, ascerbic pop is nothing new, so that ‘Here Come The Early Nights’ echoes the time it’s released in - the dark, long, November nights that could be as bleak as experienced wrapped up in nostalgia - is fitting. Acutely aware of their strengths from the off, where it soars in sound is where it does so metaphorically: the melancholy of ‘The Notion’, say, or the epic ‘Some People’, which brings to mind one particular arena-headlining Canadian outfit whose name we won’t mention. And still, while Spector’s nights are drawing in, they’ve found space to play with their formula somewhat. ‘Not Another Weekend’, with its deliciously grungy guitar line and the kind of middle eight last seen on a Weezer B-side somewhere is more successful than ‘Pressure’, where what seems to want to echo The Specials ends up far more loungey - but from a band who’d do just fine offering up more of the same as they ever did, it’s a curiously refreshing twist.
Frontman Fred Macpherson on how the album took shape and reuniting with old friends along the way.
Can you talk a little bit about how the record came together? At what point did you realise you’d got a new record?
We were on a bit of an exciting time limit as I knew I had to leave the country for three months (not for legal reasons) so we basically had to have it done in the first six weeks of this year. We thought that would give us ample time but it turned out Dimitri, our producer, only had thirteen days available - unlucky for some. Luckily Jed and I had written a lot of it (‘Never Have Before’, ‘Not Another Weekend’, ‘Room with a Different View’ and ‘Pressure’) on two writing trips as a duo - one on the Coast, near Jaywick, and another in the middle of a lake somewhere he’ll remember. Between me teaching him Magic the Gathering and him teaching me Strictly Come Dancing we got quite a lot done. We also had ‘The Notion’ lying around since the ‘Now or Whenever’ sessions, which we knew was too good to add as an afterthought to that record, and it helped with the direction for this one. Separately I’d started ‘Here Come the Early Nights’ as a kind of club track (with its lyrics setting a twilight pace for the rest of the album) and Jed had started ‘Some People’ with both becoming our personal Everests. We were finishing those and other songs like ‘All of the World is Changing’ right up until our last day of studio time. It only really became an album when Catherine Marks started sending mixes back a month or two later, and then I was so thankful for that limited time we’d had.
As a band who’ve always had a bit of a nostalgic streak - for example, working with Dimitri again, and having Dev Hynes pop up - are there frequent senses of ‘full circle’ moments among the Spector camp?
Yes it’s conscious and unconscious. I mean we were writing about feeling old at 23 and young at 33. I do kind of see ‘Enjoy It While It Lasts’ as our final, overblown, career-ending album. So much of our work is about time and relationships and friendship that it makes sense to make the actual creation about that too. In a way the time Dev spent with us this time felt like his opportunity to pour so many amazing ideas into this album that he hadn’t really got a chance to with ‘Moth Boys’ when his apartment burned down just before he was supposed to fly to London to work on it. And similarly with Dimitri, the previous songs he worked on with us like ‘Untitled in D’ and ‘Wild Guess’ have become cornerstones of our set and helped build our post-major record label confidence and culture. So working with them both again was a full circle moment. We also met with Catherine about working on an album that was never to be, so to have her mix this one is an amazing honour.
How early is an ‘early night’ to you?
These days, about 6PM.