January 19, 2010

Buy It Now: Spoon's Transference

Nothing on Spoon's new album Transference—out today—is as instantaneously catchy as Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. There's not even a real single, unless you count the bass-beaten funk of "Nobody Gets Me But You" or the furiously uptempo "Trouble Comes Running"—but even those two songs are embedded within layers of fuzz and distortion. People often make note of Spoon's use of the studio as a laboratory and it's never been more obvious than on Transference—a record of messy and distorted calculation. Spoon may be a band with the talent to craft perfect pop songs (see: "The Way We Get By,", "Sister Jack," "I Turn My Camera On," etc.), but precisely because of that they rarely ever feel the need to. Songs like "Out Go The Lights" and "I Saw The Light" are fiercely rhythmic collaborations of noise that revel in their jagged architecture. There's no wasted time in Transference; no filler leading up to the great sweeping chorus. The focus is always on the moment, and intensely so. And in a way that's the point, because you don't always know what's coming next nor are you even thinking about it. The abrupt ending in "Is Love Forever?" is Britt Daniel more or less pulling the carpet out from under the listener: there's no verse to chorus map of expectations, just a hammered-over-the-head down beat that disappears just as it finally reveals its appeal: it's pop music perfectly deconstructed.
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