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Spoon - Anger, fear, aggression; the dark side of the Force are they.,
This review is from: Transference (Audio CD)
You've probably heard Spoon even if you don't know it. "That's the way we get by" seems to permanently soundtrack certain American dramas like the OC. Similarly amongst your extended friends somewhere there will be a Spoon fanatic (a rare beast I admit although not in America) telling you that this Texan combo are greatest and most underrated band in the world!
Spoon form a central part of the renaissance of music coming out of Texas over the past decade which includes bands as varied as Mountain Goats, Lift to Experience, At the Drive In, Midlake and White Denim. Centred on the core personal of Britt Daniels who recently produced the excellent White Rabbits album "Its Frightening" (reviewed elsewhere) and Jim Eno, the gents from Spoon have been around for quite a time and deserve wider recognition in dear old Blighty.
Since their excellent breakout album "Gimme Fiction" through to 2007's "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga" the band started to become more commercial but never dull or boring. Indeed "Ga Ga" contained superb songs like the Motown influenced "You got yr cherry bomb" the funky "Finer Feelings" and the dual poptasticness of "Don't you evah" and "The Underdog". But for many Spoon fans that was a problem, Cries of "sell out" and "gone mainstream" followed and it had to said that some "edge" had gone from the band.
"Transference" the bands seventh LP is in contrast is a much more spikey and clipped album. It is rock music and not pop music and a much darker beast than its predecessor. I could hear the Stones playing "Writing in Reverse" with its guitar riff and dirty bar room piano. Even the most commercial song on here "Got Nuffin" is a ragged, bitter and twisted little number but not really designed to trouble the charts. The spikey ambience is taken to its height on "Is love for ever" with a clipped echoing guitar sound tracking a song which at one points sounds like ELOs Mr Blue Sky. The mood changes dramatically with the lovely ballad "Goodnight Laura" one of the albums highlights and "I saw a light" goes through so many changes it's a like mini rock opera but brilliant for it. This is what I love about Spoon just the variety you get and no where is this better illustrated than on "Out go the lights" a bass driven slow burner where Daniels vocal reminds me of the excellent Josh Rouse and echoes of his song "Nightime" off Nashville.
There are a couple of tracks here that don't really excite that much including "Mystery Zone" while "Trouble come running" tries too hard to be a stripped down "Cherry bomb" and is just plain repetitive. Transference certainly can't match "Gimme Fiction" which remains the bands best outing. Likewise it is troublesome "hangover" which follows the riotous party of "Ga Ga". That said Spoon do not know how to make a bad album and "Transference" is a dark little gem.