Spoon! One of the nice finds during my short lived EMusic account was Spoon, the minimalist funky indie band. I enjoyed the album Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga with it's limber grooves and odd noise aesthetics, particuarly when their music started getting featured on Chuck (always a plus with me). This year Spoon is back with more stripped down rhythms on Transference.
To me Transference is like playing the board game Scramble. You go into the game with all these grand designs and plans to get big words/big points and not box yourself in where you can't build more. And by the end of the game your biggest word is "Sugar" and there is only a small corner to build three letter words left. Spoon retains their distinct ability to take off kilter noises that shouldn't fit together but do. Awesomely weird echo, piano runs that don't match the beat, left turn riffs all held together by the singer's sort of deadpan voice. They have an immediacy that rivals The Police in their hey day.
And there's lots to like on Transference, none of the songs sound like copies of each other with a variety of paces and melodies to keep it fresh. The toughest song to get to like is the clunky lead single "Written In Reverse" which seems like a grade school music class on first blush. Eventually it gels together after multiple spins. "The Mystery Zone" is easily my favorite on the album, with Spoon hitting that funky poppin' groove I like that gets me doing my dork dance in the kitchen.
In spite of these benefits, much of Transference fails to make an impact once the CD is over. These songs sound great when playing, but don't stick the way Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga did. On that album, about four or five songs stuck with me for months. None of the songs on Transference come close to being that good.
In the end, Spoon remain a distinct and vital band - one of the few fun ones left around. Transference is just a sampler of what Spoon can do, it fails to hold together as a complete statement and none of the songs hit the "awesomely unbelieveable" level. Instead, I got consistency which isn't bad - just expected a little more from the mighty Spoon.