Wind Britt Daniel tighter and it still won’t burst. For 20 years, Spoon has been recording wary, tense, almost rock songs whose minimalist attributes contain maximalist impulses. Paranoia is Daniel’s muse, a paranoia unmoored from referents, in any case recognizable. “Everything strikes at once,” “Don’t make me a target”- it always feels like someone is watching Britt. Their tenth album, Lucifer on the sofa, put aside the electronic gadgets of burning thoughts and They want my soul for Spoon’s strongest record to date. These songs, finally, rock in every sense of the word; they even sometimes reference recognizable heterosexual scenarios that Daniel alluded to on songs like “The Mystery Zone.” And the Austin quintet pulls it off without Daniel sacrificing any of their tasty inscrutability. A lover? Sure. A target? Not so fast.
Proving their loyalty to the usual career arcs, Spoon followed up the experimental album with the Back to Basics album, put together over two years and compounded by COVID worries (as if Daniel needed something else to fret about). nails). Mark Rankin, who produced Queens of the Stone Age and Adele, joins Dave Fridmann and Justin Raisen to thicken the mix. You can hear the money on “The Hardest Cut” and the Anti-smog blanket “Held,” where the instruments rip a hole in the sky. New bassist Ben Trokan joins forces with longtime drummer Jim Eno, perfecting the welcome looseness the band experimented with on burning thoughts.
If music was a garment, Spoon would be a fitted shirt; they named a song from 2001 after a. Their preppy sternness and intermittent submission to supervised anarchy – it’s all down to the erotic appeal of Daniel’s six-string flurries, handled with the ease of a casanova who calculated the impact of a messy kiss. His chalky bray, an amalgamation of Texas country dudes and English pubs like Nick Lowe, is a match. Assisted by rookie Gerardo Larios and multi-instrumentalist Alex Fischel, the loudest songs reek of sex. On “Satellite”, Daniel becomes a boy from the lonely planet orbiting a loved one, waving her finger: “I know where you draw the line / I know why you draw it.” The centerpiece of the title track, a sonic continuation of They want my soul‘s”Upside downobserves a stroller cruising to Lavaca in skin-tight jeans, hearing Dale Watson tunes in his head. Like Bryan Ferry in “Roxy Music”street lifehe hears poetry in white noise. Sampled sax bleats echo the traffic; Fischel’s electric piano lines mirror the blue vibe.
These confessions of ardor are frank – Daniel is the least accidental of songwriters – but you can also be frank and vague. Whether it’s, ick, remarking on “God Slowly Walking Across the Room” on “Astral Jacket,” or, yuck, toying with convention on “My Babe,” he’s like a candidate for public office taking office; he is passionate about appearing passionate. He does, however, have some welcome setbacks. Those guitars crackle on “Feels Alright,” a statement of loneliness with more conviction than valentines; he understands how our culture considers the couple as an emblem of maturity. “On the Radio” even summons old-time paranoia for an account of Daniel’s device keeping tabs on him, which, in 2022, well, why not.
Determined to please the fans after five years of absence, Lucifer on the couch don’t give up and won’t change your mind. The range, like the relationships, means poop with equally committed enthusiasm and with equally compelling consistency. Yet the darker moods evoked on burning thoughts‘”Whisper, I will listen», on which Daniel, on an electronic impulse, launches threats with the zest of a professional boor. Luciferits pleasures affirm the pure good of the form – for example, the Oblique Stones quote in Fischel’s piano part for Jack Antonoff’s (!) co-writing “Wild”. A lanky sensualist for whom playing the reprobate gives him an excuse to play with cool pedals and all that, Daniel lets his guitars flesh out his suggestive, gnomic verses, and he moves me in mysterious ways (i should know). The hint of threat – the way the vague warnings are disguised as songs – keeps him alert during this ongoing confrontation with an unnamed enemy.
To buy: Gross Trade