They Want My Soul
Aug 01, 2014 Web Exclusive
With a career spanning almost 20 years, the members of Spoon are gradually emerging as the grand old men of indie rock. For most acts, notching up nearly two decades together tends to coincide with an inevitable decline in quality control, yet so far the Austin ensemble's star has risen on every release.
Much of this longevity is down to an insistence on sticking to a sound that's rarely changed since their 1996 debut LP. Since then, their soulful shtick has fended off myriad musical fads, and the band arrives at album number eight in rude health after 2010's plaudit-collecting Transference.
Despite the band's four-year vacation, They Want My Soul doesn't tread much fresh ground. Essentially, this is Spoon as Spoon has always been. These 10 songs are groove-laced jaunts that spring into life under the command of familiar keystrokes, swaggering riffs, and the homely rasp of frontman Britt Daniel.
While it's sonically nothing new, what Spoon offers is still infinitely more polished than the work of any of their contemporaries. Cuts such as "Let Me Be Mine" and the kaleidoscopic "Do You" are incessant and heart-tugging, graced with virulent guitar patchworks that complement the crackled fragility of Daniel's wordplay.
This emotional awareness defines Spoon's sound. For all the rock-star posturing, this is a band you can relate to when you're down, a band to sing to in the depths of despair. And while "I Just Don't Understand" is rote indie fare, simplistic lines like "a one-sided love I just don't understand" connect much deeper with audiences than garbled metaphors.
Unlike The National, Spoon doesn't feel the need to delve into melancholy to demonstrate their sensitivity. "Rainy Taxi" is a gnarly charge of percussion and swirling guitar; "Knock Knock Knock" excels as a broad and sprawling acoustic shuffle; "New York Kiss" closes out as an unapologetic and overblown swansong.
Clearly, those searching for something new are better off looking elsewhere. But if it's dependable melodies and soaring choruses you're after, then They Want My Soul is an album you can count on. This is Spoon, after all. (www.spoontheband.com)
Author rating: 7/10
Average reader rating: 9/10
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