Spoon's latest release can also be considered their best. Kill The Moonlight is a successful evolution of the sound on their previous album, Girls Can Tell. Minimalist instrumentation makes you sit up and take notice, and the songs are held together by Britt Daniels' assured vocals. This is a more varied release than Girls Can Tell, but still coherent, with a lively feel. Stand-out tracks include the edgy Small Stakes, Paper Tiger and Stay Don't Go - simply for its frankly odd beatboxing... My only serious complaint with this album would be the brevity of the songs - just as you're getting into some of them, they're over, and they tend to end quite abruptly. The cumulative effect of the tracks changing so rapidly is a bit like being beated around the head or pulled in opposite directions, and can get a bit grating. However, don't let that put you off one of the best albums 2002 had to offer.
It's something of a crime that this album has long been unavailable to buy new on Amazon - I hope that this changes. Anyone getting into Spoon's later albums, 'Gimme Fiction' and 'Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga', will certainly not want to miss out on this 2002 effort. Spoon are a hard band to categorise, at once both willfully experimental and with plenty of crossover appeal. They make lean, concise alt-rock-pop (if I can coin a new genre) with a precise ear for detail. Underneath the deceptive simplicity, there is a ghost in the machine: a penchant for spooked minimalism, textural and spatial abstraction which is at the same time wholly listenable. Influences are vaguely evident, The Beatles and Wire for starters, but Spoon are a band of very subtle genius, operating entirely on their own wavelength, with singular musical concerns.
'Small Stakes' builds around a jagged, jabbering guitat loop which threatens to rock out but never does. This unreleased tension is Spoon's secret weapon, which is why their taut, economical style can be initially underwhelming but somehow gets into your head. 'The Way We Get By' marries the irreverance of Iggy Pop with the stripped down blues-punk of The White Stripes on the album's best known song. Again it feels both raw and tightly arranged; nothing is wasted. 'Stay Don't Go' starts, surprisingly, with a human beatbox, and gradually adds component layers of guitar, piano and electronics. It sounds like they have disassembled a track and put it back together in a different, slightly abstract, but infinitely more funky way. Based around a Britt Daniels falsetto, it is both experimental and pop of the purest, most elemental kind. 'Paper Tiger' returns to this abstraction of texture and space with equal success, but with eerier undertones. One of the album's stand-out tracks, it owes as much to Brian Eno as it does to, say, Wire. It's final refrain of "I will be there with you when you turn out the light" is as unsettling as it might be construed as comforting.
Elsewhere, 'Don't Let it Get You Down' employs the very pleasing aural trick of having the music echo the vocal melody. It is a technique repeated in the bluesy, bawdy 'All The Pretty Girls Go To The City', in which Daniels' gritty drawl is mirrored in piano and rugged guitar licks. The locomotive 'Back To The Life', another album highlight, chugs like a freight train embellished with the bells and whistles of assorted studio trickery. Again, despite the deconstructed nature of the track, it is as lean and direct and memorable as The Beatles' best.
But for a couple of mediocre tracks ('Someone Something' is as forgettable as the title suggests) this is 85% of a classic album. Spoon have a habit (still in evidence in 2007) of making albums that grow on you - their modest initial impressions giving way to reveal music of great depth and permanence.
This is an early album by spoon, that I could not download anywhere, so I had to go old school and buy a CD! This is album has some of their classics, such as "The way we get by" and "Don't let it get you down", definitely worth a buy! It's a good indie rock band.