Spoon had quite the decade. Ten years and four critically acclaimed albums later, the band rings in the new year with their seventh full length release, Transference. As lead singer/songwriter Britt Daniel put it quite nicely, “This one is pure Spoon”. The band successfully composes record after record of the best indie rock today.
The album’s opener “Before Destruction” reminds us of the days of Kill The Moonlight‘s opening track “Small Stakes”, where Daniel and the instruments weave between one another in a simple and satisfying manner. The simplicity “Destruction” gives us a raw and grittier Spoon than we’ve seen on the past few releases. However, in most cases this would lead to disappointment from a band who’s 2007 end-of-the-year-critic-list-topper Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga set the bar extremely high for a follow-up. Transference defines what the band sets out to accomplish and uses the “KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid” method and break the lever off while they’re doing it.
When listening to the record, you can’t seem to find the “You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb”-s or “The Way We Get By”-s like you’d expect to hear from Spoon. The band disguises them beneath the solidarity of the tracks. Similar to an uninvited guest that can’t reveal themselves in a grandiose fashion, but instead insidiously hits on the good-looking girls at the party he’s not even been invited to. The album does, however, have it’s standouts. “Written In Reverse” surfaced over the internet from a fan-recorded copy from the Pitchfork Music Festival, which shows off a rattling piano crunch and gritty vocals from Daniel, as well as “The Mystery Zone”. On “Mystery”, drummer Jim Eno steadily plays his elementary [insert Meg White joke here] drum beat and as Daniel’s echoed delay guitar finds its way to serve up it’s fair share of mystery. “How come it seems so familiar when you’ve never been there before?” Daniel questions, which you can draw back to the band itself. A band continually puts out music that “sounds like Spoon”, but recreates the parts and pieces that go into the machine and accomplishes the same task as it did before.
“Got Nuffin” is a track we’ve been familiar with for some time now after it’s release back in June on an EP that dawns it’s name. It’s a straightforward rocker that contemplates it’s own existence and has nothing to lose “but darkness and shadows”, “loneliness and patterns” and “emptiness and hang-ups”, you start to wonder why it’s still around. Transference is a long album for Spoon, even though can’t help but contemplate whether or not to blink in fear that you’re going to miss it strut right by you. The album shows off what Spoon does best: doing a lot with very little. Less is more for this band, and no one is going to help them dismantle their work after someone offers to take it off their hands. They do what they do because no one is going to tell them they can’t.
Key Tracks: “Is Love Forever?”, “The Mystery Zone”, “Written In Reverse”
WPGU Music Staff Rating: W-P-G
W = Poor
W-P = OK
W-P-G = Good
W-P-G-U = Great!