It seems like the well of modern Spector soundalikes never runs dry. Why, just today I discovered a very nice production that clearly picks up a trick or two from the Wall of Sound.
Turns out the Courteeners is a UK indie rock band that’s been around since the mid-00s. I’ve never heard about them before, and I suspect I won’t really enjoy the rest of their catalog as I’m not that keen on indie rock. But I am all ears when it comes to this little gem from their 2014 album ‘Concrete Love’.
Admittedly, ‘Has He Told You that He Loves You Yet?’ is pretty straightforward and just on the verge of being forgettable as a song,… but to the rescue then comes a driving drum beat coupled with a tambourine, tasty reverb and some acoustic guitars strumming along for good measure.
The Wall of Sound touches supplied here seem well chosen in that they inject energy into the song as a counterpoint to the otherwise dreamy mood of the lead vocal. It wouldn’t be far fetched to compare the song’s overall sound to something like, say, Morrissay’s Spectorish ‘Everyday is like Sunday.’
Aaaaah, with the arrival of spring and some much-needed sunshine, I was reminded of a song that would make for a perfect addition to this blog’s ever growing list of modern Spector soundalikes.
When talk centers on Spector soundalikes, you’re bound to eventually discuss the Boss and his longtime infatuation with the Wall of Sound.
There are plenty of songs showcasing Springsteen’s love for Spector’s approach throughout his 70s and 80s catalogue, notably the scrapped mid 70s sessions that eventually came out as ‘The Promise’ in 2010. (a must-buy release for any reader of this blog!)
In more recent times, Springsteen’s forays into full-on Wall of Sound territory have been more limited but occasionally he’ll throw together some chords and great lyrics that are just begging for bombast.
A prime example would be the somewhat overlooked single ‘Girls in their Summer Clothes’ from 2008s ‘Magic’ album.
This perfect pop song with thumping backing by the E. Street Band wasn’t even issued as a physical single but could only be obtained as a digital download. It was only a minor chart success stalling at # 95 at the Billboard Hot 100 which is a shame since it’s one of Springsteen’s most straight-forward pop songs and definitely deserves to be heard by more than those within Springsteen’s loyal following.
Enjoy this gem then; top notch singing by the Boss, great lyrical theme with a bit of wistfulness thrown in for good measure and , above all, the tried-and-true Wall of Sound formula that elevates a good song to pure pop perfection. Eureka! – Another brilliant modern Spector soundalike.
It’s been a while since I’ve featured some of the modern Spector soundalikes I have a habit of tracking down just for the fun of it. There are literally thousands of newly produced songs out there leaning heavily towards a Wall of Sound-type approach, ripe for picking for any obsessed Spector fan.
Christmas-time is often especially rewarding because of the fact that Spector’s iconic ‘A Christmas Gift for You’ album has virtually brainwashed everyone into thinking that the Wall of Sound is the sound of Christmas; a warm, enveloping and nostalgic sound that artists today often go for when recording Christmas music, probably even without giving it much thought. Glockenspiels, strumming guitars, church bells and a ‘Be my Baby’ beat. Why, that’s just what Christmas sounds like, isn’t it?
So today, this latest installment of the Modern Spector Soundalikes feature will present a festive doublesider in the form of two recent Christmas releases that both make use of some of the hallmarks of the Spector yuletide sound. I don’t know much about the artists other than that the duo Ette hail from Scotland while Mr Little Jeans is one-girl project from Norway. No matter, these two songs should appeal to everyone checking in from time to time.
Both productions are a little on the crude side – no sweeping Nitszchean strings here or a thousand acoustic guitars strumming in unison in a sea of echo. But both singles are still very, very enjoyable with sweet female vocals and a very classic song structure that make the songs seem familiar and inviting even on first listen. Surely, these songs wouldn’t have been out of place on an imaginary Philles Christmas single by the Ronettes, the Crystals or Darlene Love.
Check them out. I dig the huskiness and Scottish accent of the Ette singer and really, really love the dreamy chorus on Mr Little Jeans’ ‘Dear Santa’. Great stuff! Hope you’ll enjoy these two releases as much as I do.
Musings on Phil Spector's Wall of Sound and similar music…