Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Spoon - Transference


Spoon are one of those bands whose name I saw recurring in both movie and television soundtracks.  I kind of had an idea what they were like due to the labels they'd been signed to over the years, Matador and Merge to name a couple.

There were also various recommendations and appearances on bucket lists from those whose opinions I admire.  To be honest, I thought Spoon were akin to bands like Fuel or Train.  How wrong could I be?

Transference, their seventh and latest album, is full of quirky dark pop.  While Mine suggests their sound to be crowded (see below), I actually think the opposite.  To my (dodgy at best) ears, this sounds almost as though it is recorded live, albeit in a studio.  I really dig the sound of it.  There is something essentially pure about this, something I think a lot of over-produced, shined-up bands of today could learn from.

If anything, this is an album full of great ideas.  It's like a notepad full of doodles by a really good artist.  Most of it captures something truly worthwhile and works brilliantly but some of it was most probably done after he'd been out really late with the lads and he can barely remember what he was trying to do and, well, is shit.

Having said this, I really took to Got Nuffin', Nobody Gets Me But You and Writing In Reverse, even if it contains the bloody awful couplet "I'm writing this to you in reverse, someone better call a hearse".  But the centre piece, for me, is the drama and menace of the dark disco that is I Saw The Light.  A great idea, well executed.



While kicking around for a little background on this band, I read that this was the first album they'd done without the help of an outside producer.  I have a message for Spoon: BIG MISTAKE.

Seriously, I liked the songs, the guy can sing a bit, although he did occasionally descend into indie-whine, but the production?  My eight-year-old nephew could have done it.  In fact he might have: there's a LOT of stuff on there, so much so it sounds like someone with ADD just ran around the studio pushing buttons.

The rockier numbers are better, and I liked I Saw the Light enough to listen to it all the way through.  But if I'd been listening to this in a record shop, I would have given up after the first three songs,  Gah.


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