Friday, January 15, 2010
Record Label: Merge
Release Date: 1/19/2010
Over the past fifteen years, Austin veterans Spoon have steadily worked their way towards becoming elder statesmen of indie-rock, producing exciting album after album in what has become an all-too predictable pattern. Three years after their last full length release Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (2007)—one that arguably was their album—Spoon returns with Transference (2010). While Transference does not match the striking quality of its predecessor, their latest work remains on par with the band’s overall body of work. In other words, an average Spoon album is like falling one number short of winning the lotto—you may not have hit the jackpot, but you still wind up with a nice consolation prize.
“Before Destruction” opens Transference as a slow and syncopated crawler, tinged with a soulful lo-fi vibe. As the album continues, Spoon holds steady in their ever-workmanlike endeavors, crafting their indie-rock style in an unsurprisingly solid fashion. “Is Love Forever?” continues a particularly impressive first half of the album with its noisy buoyancy, as it brings to mind older tracks such as “Don’t Make Me a Target” and “Jonathon Fisk.”
As the album progresses, Spoon incrementally amasses track upon track of indie-punk excellence. The album’s first single, “Written in Reverse,” struts its cool piano-driven swagger, as drummer Jim Eno compliments his fellow band members in a powerfully raw, yet perfectly complimentary manner. “I Saw the Light” recalls a faster version of The Beatles’ “I Want You (She’s So Heavy),” both in its tone, structure, and dynamic. Like the latter song, Spoon powerfully delivers a slow, noise-ridden buildup that ends abruptly. While not as intricate as The Beatles original, “I Saw The Light” does their best impression of that song here, and succeeds as Transference’s finest track.
The second half of Transference endures as mostly enjoyable, but slightly forgettable overall. Spoon does provide a few gems on the back side of the album, including the lone holdover from their last EP “Got Nuffin” and the straightforward, anthemic rocker “Trouble Comes Running.” During “Trouble Comes Running,” Daniel admits “I was in a functional way / And thinking clean clean thoughts / Effort just to keep my nose on / Just trying to look straight ahead.” On the path Spoon continues down upon, straight and functional is all Britt Daniel and company need. Keep those clean clean thoughts coming.
Listen to Transference in its entirety at NPR's website.