Review by Tomas Hanrahan
Four years ago. That was the last time I bought a Spoon record. I was also in San Francisco. The salesperson whom I purchased the album from ranted about how “Spoon always sound like Spoon”. How much can change in four years.
An absolute juggernaut of a band in their native USA they seem to struggle when it comes to crossing the Pacific Ocean. Hopefully this is finally all about to change with their new LP “They Want My Soul” their best hope for a commercial crossover yet.
Kicking things of with easily the greatest song ever recorded about handing over money for board “The Rent I Pay” firmly establishes that after the band hiatus, they are ready to rock again, even recruiting a keyboardist, Alex Fischel, along the way from front man Britt Daniel’s side project “Divine Fits”.
“Inside/Out” feels like it just wandered off set of a Sofia Coppola film with it’s dreamy synth textures and harp plucking setting the mood while Daniel croons about “breaking out of character”. It’s possibly one of the most lovely songs of the band’s career.
“Rainy Taxi” views an apocalypse unfolding, piano and bass pulsating as the armies from the west engulf the city. Itself an update of a demo that has been kicking around in the archives since the “Kill The Moonlight” days.
“Do You” the lead single, carousel of a song, urging the listener to jump on and take the ride. “Do you run when things get good?” giddily asks...we’ll be sticking around if what your offering is this good. While “Knock, Knock, Knock” thumps like the rattling on the castle door with a jagged acoustic guitar, electronic drum pads and whistles hammering home a a story of paranoia The funk almost undercuts the story of what appears like a stoner’s horror tinged Sergio Leone mini movie.
While “Outlier” comes down from the hills drenched in atmosphere with drum thumping and shimmering reverb. More about the band jamming than adding up to a real song. Although it manages to take a pot shot at Zach Braff’s “Garden State” suggesting an ex girlfriend had taste walking out of the feature presentation. The most experimental track here has all the fingerprints of one of two outside producers David Fridmann the man behind Tame Impala’s “Lonerism” and almost everything of The Flaming Lips back catalogue.
Near the tail end is when things get a little Spoon-ish, creeping piano keys, acoustic, easy drums, echoed vocals, sudden electric licks, maybe an attempt to remind that old fans that the band they first loved is still hiding under it’s new glossy coat. Not to mention that some of Daniel’s lyrics are occasionally as cryptic as ever.
And then drops synth heavy “New York Kiss”...three and a half minutes of pop executed so well that you want to play the whole damn record again just to chase the dragon of the fun that’s just been had.
This is a band that absolutely knows it’s product and at this last stage in their career has nothing left to prove, but perhaps searching for a little extra innovation from the help of outside producers for the first time only strengthens what would have already been a great album.
Make no mistake this a record only a band like Spoon could make, and make it look easier. Breezy, fun, infectious and easily the most clean and precise record the band has delivered. They want your soul...after one listen...it will be hard not to give it up.
Watch this wild film clip for "Inside Out" >