Spoon - Transference

1 comment

Transference, similar to their last two releases, is a utility album.  There's not a sonically offensive or intruding song through the course of Spoon - Transference the CD, while at the same time there's regrettably no "Hey Jude" begging the masses to sing along.

Still, any track here would offer a welcome twist to whatever might precede it in an iPod shuffle, whether working out or riding a train.  Yet, the entirety is just as listenable while writing performance reviews.  That qualifies as fairly remarkable stuff. 

Part of the appeal of Spoon is that the soundscape is relatively sparse.  The songs are built on fairly simplistic drums, while the bass is free to wander around, alternately melodically pulling the song or driving it home.  Cymbals and guitars are rarely allowed to ring out, and this leaves a lot of space for keyboard bits or Britt Daniel's layered and filtered vocals to adorn the chassis.  "Who Makes Your Money," a song that grew on me, is probably the best example of the formula here.

"The Mystery Zone" feels like a song that become a sprawling album closer, but it's located at #3 in the sequence.  Daniel's lyrics are often obtuse, but this one seems mostly about the tentativeness of stepping outside of the the safe and the known.

Another highlight is "I Saw the Light," which breaks into an instrumental romp halfway through the song, a fine musical journey that speaks volumes that virtuoso musicians aren't required to make great music... especially when holding to a solid groove.

At times, Transference feels almost like a single piece of music.  This is due as much to the consistent snap, crackle, and groove of the rhythm section as it is to barely a beat's silence between most songs.

The only song that doesn't fit the mold is "Goodnight Laura," a rather astonishing departure from the overall sound not because it's bad, but rather because it showcases Daniel's pop sensibility were he to seek a more commercial direction.  It's also far more direct in it's lyrical prose than the remainder of the set.

All that said, this CD feels a little bit of a disappointment.  Some may say it's not as melodic as their previous efforts, or that some of the abrupt changes or stops in the music is off-putting, but after 15 listens, it holds well and is an enjoyable listen.  That said, "Gimme Fiction" or "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga" are better starting points for the uninitiated.

Recommended Songs: "The Mystery Zone," "Written in Reverse," "I Saw the Light"

Rating: 3 Stars out of 5

1 comment :

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    Hi Reese,

    On behalf of Merge Records and Spoon, many thanks for plugging "Transference" on your site (street date 18th Jan UK / 19th Jan US) ..... thanks, also, on behalf of the label and artist for not posting any pirate links to newly released (studio) material and, if you / your readers want good quality, non-pirated, preview tracks, then a full length version of "Written in Reverse" is available for fans and bloggers to post / host / share etc at www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=120830261&ps=bb2 ... .. for further details of the new album, on-line promotions, videos and 2010 shows, check-out the band's official site at www.spoontheband.com and keep an eye on official sources for details of further Spoon news, preview material and on-line promotions.

    As a special, goodwill gesture to fans and bloggers, an exclusive preview stream of the full album is now available via the band's site and as part of NPR Music's Exclusive First Listen series at www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=122279793 ... .. this is for hyper-linking ONLY and for streaming by fans directly off the band's official site and NPR, so please reciprocate this goodwill gesture by NOT ripping or embedding these files.

    Thanks again for your plug.