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Nobody gets me like Spoon

January 19, 2010
tags: ,

Spoon
Transference
January 19, 2010
Merge

Rating: 9.4/10

This may be the best Spoon album yet. Only time will tell for sure, but right now I think that this album is nearly perfect.

For their seventh studio album the Austin band made the bold decision to work without the help of an outside producer. Lead singer Britt Daniel described his hopes for this album very aptly back in November when “The Mystery Zone” leaked. He commented that he had confidence that fans would hear the album and think, ‘That’s how I would have done it.’

The unbridled enthusiasm and raw aggresion apparent on Transference convey the very best side of Spoon, and if I was in charge of the production, yes, this is how I would have made it.

This album has all the hallmarks of a Spoon album without sounding like anything they’ve put out previously, which is another one of those characteristics these Austin rockers have become known for. The steady rhythms flourished with outbursts of delayed guitar or wild piano; the falsetto howl; the pervasive feeling of cool settling over the entire album.

Transference is not its antecedents but it has all the things that made those albums enjoyable. It has soul, rock ‘n’ roll, sophistication and energy all bottled up and packaged nicely within 11 songs.

The best parts of the album are the nuanced, minute details that sit just behind the foreground, adding flavor so subtly that you could miss it if you didn’t really listen. These little pinches of flavor are so good that if they ceased to exist the songs would no longer retain the same qualities, and you would certainly miss them.

Each song has it’s own focus on Transference. No two sound alike yet they all fit within the “Spoon sound.”

The airy jangle of the guitars on “Is  Love Forever?” is epic. Paired with Daniel’s questioning refrains echoing over the whole track the end result is exciting and gorgeous.

“The Mystery Zone” and “Written in Reverse” are well known to Spoon fans by now, but that shouldn’t downplay how good they are. The steady beats and catchy hooks are enough to start anyone’s toes tapping.

“Trouble Comes Running” is probably my favorite song because it is an unapologetic nod to when music was pure and holy. It’s old fashioned rock ‘n’ roll has an ethereal feeling that just makes me feel so good inside. The falsetto harmonies that adorn the background evoke The Kinks and just perfect the whole thing. “Trouble” sounds like everything Kings of Leon have tried so hard to do four albums but have always come just short of accomplishing.

Stereogum described “I Saw The Lights” as a song that people will have sex to (and feel classy doing so) but I would argue that love will be made to every song on this album. Each track is sexy in its own right like “Goodnight Laura” which is dark and mellow, setting the mood for “Out Go The Lights” to bring it all home.

“Got Nuffin” was a gift way back in June of ’09. but it’s glorious reappearance near the end of the album just kicks ass. It’s distorted-space echo guitar over heavy percussion is every bit as punk rock as Spoon may ever be.

There is a calm energy to the funk groove of “Nobody Gets Me But You” that set off the forlorn vocals and make them feel very real.

All 43 minutes of Transference are indispensable and if I had my hands on the control panel for this album I would have done it the same way. It’s a real testament to the musical prowess of these gentlemen to have completely self-produced this album.

I would argue that Spoon went through all of the last decade without making a bad or even mediocre album and it seems like they could do it again for the next ten years. For music’s sake, I hope they continue to do this for the next ten years.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. January 24, 2010 3:32 pm

    I’ve just gotten through my first few listens and I totally agree with you. Particularly the placement of “Got Nuffin'” to anchor the end of the album was a great move on the part of the band.

    Did you see them play “Written in Reverse” on one of Conan’s last Tonight Shows? It was great.

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