Anyone who knows me knows that I am a shameless creature of habit in certain circumstances. Take me to lunch often enough and you’ll find I have very consistent ordering habits. Each restaurant comes with its own go-to menu item and in cases of seat yourself establishments, a precise location where I aim to sit. I will eat the same breakfast nearly every day for months on end. It just seems like the right thing to do. Part of me still thrives on the routine. When it comes to music, all bets are off. I’ve never stuck to one genre or time period of music. I need something new on a regular basis and I’m one of those people who prefers a band who can sound different on every record and maintain excellence. These two distinct sides of myself are ultimately satisfied by Spoon’s latest record, Transference.
For the past decade this Austin powerhouse has delivered consistently great records. Album to album you got solid indie-rock with some of the best hooks and grooves around. Stand-out tracks like “You’ve Got Yr Cherry Bomb”, “Sister Jack”, “The Way We Get By”, and “Everything Hits at Once” come from four different album, but played back to back sound like they could all have come from the same session. Spoon’s consistent quality is unparralelled, but some would say formulaic. If you’re feeling this way about Spoon you might want to give Transference a spin before you give up on these guys. Transference is stocked with the infectious sounds of previous albums, but there is also a glimmer of experimentation here. Behind each song is a layer of subdued chaos. The opening track “Before Destruction” is a nice example as it sets what sounds like an acoustic demo of the song over a bed of sound. The background doesn’t obscure the song, but it does push it to the foreground. Sometimes these underlying sounds are barely noticeable, as in some of the quieter tracks like “Out Go the Lights”, and “Goodnight Laura”, but they are still there, like a shadow you can’t pin down. Even the songs that get the dance floor jumping are full of background activity. There’s not doubt that the album’s current single, “Written in Reverse” is a Spoon classic…. it fits their “formula” perfectly; “The Mystery Zone” also fits in here.
Transference is really a great addition to the Spoon catalog. This is a record that sees these veterans doing what they do best, but trying to find a way to do it just a bit differently.
Take a trip over to your neighborhood record store (this is not Target, Wal-Mart, Best Buy etc) or the Merge Records site and grab a copy.