Spoon: Girls Can Tell (Matador) - review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Monday, November 23rd, 2020  

Spoon

Girls Can Tell

Matador

Oct 26, 2020 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


By the time Girls Can Tell—their third overall album and Merge debut—came out in 2001, Spoon had already been through several labels, most recently Elektra (chronicled hilariously on “The Agony of Lafitte”) and little was expected. However, it sold more than their previous albums combined and directly paved the way for their later success further into the 21st century, which continues today up to their 2017 album Hot Thoughts and greatest hits compilation Everything Hits at Once from 2019.

So how did they get there? Leader Britt Daniel and drummer Jim Eno (along with producer Mike McCarthy) stripped away some of the jagged, distorted edges characteristic of their earlier work and replaced them with a poppier, more accessible sound. If all this sounds like the dreaded “selling out,” it wasn’t. Their Pixies and Wire influences were still audible, but by bringing in a more New Wave-inspired sound, they not only brought the band more commercial success and ensured its future, but ended up making their best album, which has recently been reissued as part of the band’s Slay on Cue reissues series on their current label Matador. 

Opener “Everything Hits at Once” feels like a 2000s version of a romantic Crowded House number and from there, the thundering bass line of “Me and the Bean” (a cover of a song by the mid ’90s Austin band The Sidehackers) suggest nothing less than Graham Maby’s work with Joe Jackson circa Body and Soul. “Anything You Want” and “Take a Walk” are both redolent of both ’60s garage rock and Elvis Costello’s “Pump It Up” (respectively), while “The Fitted Shirt” feels inspired by their namesake CAN in its coda. All of this is balanced out by the gorgeous instrumental “This Book is a Movie” and the eerily beautiful closer “Chicago at Night.” Spoon have gone on to make some very good albums since Girls Can Tell, but they’ve never made one that as expertly weaves their accessible and experimental sides quite as well. (www.spoontheband.com

Author rating: 9/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10



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