Monday, February 1

Spoon: The Sam Jackson of Indie Rock


Artist: Spoon
Album: Transference

Comments: Spoon is a relentlessly cool band. Its songs are groovy affairs. Listening to them is like dancing with mysterious stranger who moves with a confidence both seductive and dangerous. It is not hard to imagine everyone in the band wearing leather jackets and sunglasses at all times, cigarettes dangling uncommitted from their expressionless faces as they casually walk to the next party, fully aware that all eyes are on them but making no notice of the attention.

Here's the thing about cool, though: It don't keep you warm at night. Sure, everyone wants to be cool, but man cannot live on cool alone, you know? Man needs soul, man needs something more substantial, less detached, more true to that intangible, indescribable core of human nature that gives power to the pop songs that can move people, change people.

Spoon is occasionally capable of achieving this zen-like level of pop mastery while maintaining their aloof, Fonzie-esque aesthetic. Their last full-length, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, an album so dripping with effortless perfection on a song-by-song level that it almost seemed like the band wasn't even trying, was a modern classic that could stand both as a touchstone of modern hipness and a piece of near-flawless alternative for the stadium minded.

Transference, however, is not so much a cosmic success as it is a cool fucking album. So, if you were looking for another car-ride, life changer this time around, you'll be let down.

Still, there's nothing wrong with a good headphones album, and this album is certainly that. There is a lot to take in, from the echo-y bass-and-piano grove of "Mystery Zone" to the meandering, jammy guitar of "I Saw The Light." Production wise, the band is back on their studio experimentation BS (ala Kill The Moonlight), focusing less on rocking like a hurricane and more on layering their rock songs with as much cool shit as they can think of.

It makes for an interesting listen, no doubt, but a more detached one, as the band wants to keep the listener at arms length instead of fully drawing them in for the big rock and roll bear hug.

There is one track that bridges the gap between studio knob-fiddling and full on emotional rocking, and that song is "Trouble Comes Running."

"Trouble Comes Running" is fucking awesome.
It's a quiet little rocker with a goofy mix so the guitar is pushed higher than the rest of the song, and the drums are kind of low-fi and canned. All this means is that the song sounds interesting as well as emotionally satisfying.

Transference doesn't swing for the fences, it doesn't strive to capture anyone's heart. It is fine to be another solid addition to an already solid (and occasionally perfect) catalog of mercilessly cool music. Get your sunglasses on, motherfucker.



Key Tracks: Mystery Zone, Written in Reverse, I Saw The Light, Trouble Comes Running

Buy, Steal, Skip: Buy

3 comments:

WEB SHERIFF said...

WEB SHERIFF
Who You Gonna Call
Tel 44-(0)208-323 8013
Fax 44-(0)208 323 8080
websheriff@websheriff.com
www.websheriff.com

Hi Mr Dogg,

On behalf of Merge Records and Spoon, many thanks for plugging "Transference" on your site (street date 18th Jan UK / 19th Jan US) ..... thanks, also, on behalf of the label and artist for not posting any pirate links to newly released (studio) material and, if you / your readers want good quality, non-pirated, preview tracks, then a full length version of "Written in Reverse" is available for fans and bloggers to post / host / share etc at www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=120830261&ps=bb2 ... .. for further details of the new album, on-line promotions, videos and 2010 shows, check-out the band's official site at www.spoontheband.com and keep an eye on official sources for details of further Spoon news, preview material and on-line promotions.

As a special, goodwill gesture to fans and bloggers, an exclusive preview stream of the full album is now available via the band's site and as part of NPR Music's Exclusive First Listen series at www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=122279793 ... .. this is for hyper-linking ONLY and for streaming by fans directly off the band's official site and NPR, so please reciprocate this goodwill gesture by NOT ripping or embedding these files.

Thanks again for your plug.

Regards,

WEB SHERIFF

Iceman said...

Welp....that was weird.

JWA said...

And I will strike down with GREAT VENGEANCE and FURRRRRRIOUS ANGER! THOSE who would attempt to POISON and DESTROY my ROYALE WITH CHEESE!!!