What I find particularly interesting about modern Spector soundalikes is the fact that musicians of today gladly mix the Wall of Sound with all sorts of other references or genre traits.
This is in direct contrast to Spector’s 60s output which usually stayed clear of all the other sounds that were dominating the airwaves. Sure, there’s a bit of folk-rock in ‘This Could be the Night’ by the Modern Folk Quartet or ‘Paradise’ by the Ronettes, a pinch of Beach Boys-styled surf rave-up in ‘All Grown Up’ by the Crystals or a subtle Motown influence to ‘Here I Sit’ and ‘Do I Love You’ by the Ronettes.
But I’ll argue that these examples were both far between and totally overpowered by the no-holds-barred aesthetic Spector perfected. He definately had his own sound – and on his productions, at least during the 60s, he took a back seat to no one.
So it’s all the more interesting to find modern productions that both tip their hats to his Wall of Sound and other influences at the same time. When I decided to write a blog post about ‘Blue Angel’, a great, atmospheric song by North Carolina band Love Language, I was thinking about this.
At first listen the song doesn’t really seem like an obvious contender for my ongoing feature on modern Spector soundalikes. The introductory, shimmering drone gives way to a fairly pleasant, dreamy and twang-heavy song that’s more like a country-fied lullaby than a by-the-numbers Spector tribute.
Nonetheless, ‘Blue Angel’ is a great song with a beautiful melody and emotive lead vocal. And all you Spectorphiles – just hang on in there; when we reach about the 2 minute mark things really get into gear in a ramshackle sort of way. The drone is back with a vengeance, drums fire away in crescendo after crescendo and a tasteful use of echo makes for a really rewarding listening experience.
You can find ‘Blue Angel’ on Love Language’s second album, ‘Libraries’ from 2010. I have no doubt that group leader and main songwriter Stuart McLamb has several Spector albums in his private record collection. There are more songs on the so far three albums by Love Language to prove that McLamb has picked up a trick or two from the Wall of Sound approach.