4/5 There’s something about privilege that leaves a bitter taste in your mouth – especially if it’s the privilege enjoyed by what you had hitherto hoped was a salt-of-the-earth act. The instinct to judge rose up when we discovered mockney girl Lily Allen was the daughter of actor Keith, and after the revelation that Johnny Flynn’s brother Jerome was one half of acting/singing duo Robson & Jerome. The fact that production prodigy Mark Ronson – who’s playing Trilogy on Thursday September 27 – is the great-great-nephew of Odeon founder Oscar Deutsch: well, that didn’t endear us to his watery retro vibes any more than before. So when it came to light that Spector frontman Fred’s father is the high-ranking British civil servant Sir Nicholas Macpherson – permanent secretary to the Treasury and a knight, no less! – we balked.
But then we listened, and realised our mistake. Sorry, Spector, for our inverse snobbery – it shouldn’t matter where you come from, especially when you produce as beautifully straightforward a piece of musicianship as ‘Enjoy it While it Lasts’. All of which leaves us open to enjoy the Springsteen-esque romanticism of a line like ‘Twenty Nothing’s’ ‘Remind me how it started… I still had a best friend, didn’t have ambition, when did it become a competition?’
And imagine if we’d missed the equally poignant ‘Lay Low’ with its take on a tumultuous relationship? Not to mention the pop hooks this five-piece successfully embed in their melancholic ballads, like an Ultravox for the modern age. Sure, these east London lads didn’t fashion a guitar from a hubcap like Seasick Steve, or meet in a homeless shelter like KRS-One and Scott La Rock, but that doesn’t make their music any less touching. Danielle Goldstein