US - Texas - Full Moon 106 - 05/23/05
I have all kinds of respect for Spoon already. Having seen them live, I was certainly taken by the lead singer, the ultra-charasmatic Mr. Britt Daniels. Before that I had fallen in love with a couple of their records and a bunch of their songs: dammit they're a rock band, not indie rock, not college rock, and certainly not alternative, and beyond simply loving the sound of the music they were making, I loved the thing they were keeping alive so well. Like I usually say, Rock 'N Roll is one of those terms like Jazz that no matter how sullied it gets by the sheep, the word comes back to beat your ass because you realize how fucking amazing it is. Well, Spoon Rock and Roll you, man. Their simple blend of Guitar, Bass, Drums, and Voice (sometimes Synth, a whole bunch on one album) is as original and signature as you get. The druming is bad-ass and sample-worthy. The funniest thing: they're from Austin, Texas!
Well, we sure need people like Spoon there, in that part of the world. Gimme Fiction opens with "The Beast and Dragon, Adored". Part of being a great Rock band is having great lyrics, and I've always loved Spoon's. The album opens in a classic way, with a short, non-chelant recording of studio banter. This album wastes Absolutely No Time in laying its cards on the table, though. Beatles-esque classic, incredible Rock songs. Britt Daniel's voice sounds great. What character. "The Two Sides of Monsieur Valentine" is next. A great title for a song. The song is equally good. Spoon are sporting a way less pop sound on this album, transcending their oft-sited influences in early 90s indie-rockers. "I Turn My Camera On" finds Daniels using his falsetto. It's a little odd sounding I suppose, but I like it. This song takes your mind and makes it bob in rhythm. And mind there can be interchanged with soul. The guitar-work, especially Daniel's solos, is really good on this record. As one critic put it: "Spoon, like wine, is getting better with age."
"My Mathematical Mind" is track 4. It is during this song that I begin to realize how different the production on this album is from Spoon's previous effort, the keyboard-heavy and guitar-bare Kill the Moonlight (scary title for Luna Kafe!). There, it was very present and clear. Each instrument, down to tambourine, was very crisp, and his voice was much higher in the mix on that record. Here, the production is just the opposite. "The Delicate Plate" uses acoustic guitar and heavy toms. The breakdown that ends the song is incredible. There is a tiny sound of some whispering, after the instruments cut off at the very end, making
the voices at the beginning of the record an interesting archetype. Little moves like this add an amazing amount of consistency to an album.
"Sister Jack" marks the halfway point and is the first Big song on the record. I like this sound a whole lot. The chorus confirms it: this is my favorite. They pull a neat trick with the meter of the chorus at the end of the tune. Check it out: they add one extra beat every 2 bars. I bet you'll hear it. 1-2-3-4 |
1-2-3-4-5... (meter is lame I know). This is a truly great song. "I Summon You" continues with the bigger sound on the B-side of the record, and uses more acoustic guitar. "The Infinite Pet" uses more meter tricks with 5-steps and 4-steps. Classic sounding chorus effects drench the guitar. "Was it You" and "They
Never Got You" are both long songs, each over 5 minutes. They begin the denouement with these 2 songs, each massive but moving. The pace of these songs is perfect, actually, because they are the most snake-in-the-grass songs on the album. Beginning the end of the record this way was a brilliant move. "They Never Got You"
is a really, really nice song. This rivals "Sister Jack" as my favorite on the album. These lyrics are really incredible. I don't even want to quote them on here, for fear of spoiling.
This is an album whose each part is consistently great from beginning to end. A great and original new effort by Spoon! Oh, how they've grown. See these Austin boys live if you get the chance.
Copyright © 2005 Bill Banks