1.19.2010

Spoon - Transference


Spoon's recordings are sometimes about pure studio construction, and other times about live performance energy concentrated in rudimentary parts. But, in either case, the importance of every guitar upstroke or single piano key being struck is highlighted by the stark quality of their recordings. Present on their new album, Transference, is the Beatle-esque stereo separation and spacious quality that has been a part of their sound from the beginning. Although this album is talked about as the first Spoon album to be produced completely by the band, drummer Jim Eno has been a part of the engineering and production of every one of their releases. Consequently, the band's new found "independence" hasn't changed the feel of this new batch songs markedly from their last few efforts. It's still straight rock music, driven by energy that comes more from measured placement of musical phrases than brute force.

Since 2002's Kill The Moonlight, Britt Daniel's vocal parts have become increasingly detached from their accompaniment and subject to treatment by effects and editing. The Live at Stubb's concert set that the band released last year gave a nice snapshot of his current ideology toward the atmospherics of his vocals. Even in concert, one can hear that the delay and other effects applied to Daniel's vocals are meticulously controlled and only triggered on certain key accents. On Transference, that approach is evident in a song like "Who Makes Your Money", a tune whose persistent beat may have a kindred spirit in "Don't You Evah" and "Was It You?" from albums past. The vocal refrain is sung repeatedly over the instrumental vamp, sometimes falling out of rhythm while being delayed and re-triggered. Also, both "Is Love Forever?" and "The Mystery Zone" feature abrupt edits. On the former, the vocal is cut mid-yowl as the bands plays out the last few measures, while the latter stops short all together, again in the middle of a word.

There are many tracks on this album in the classic Spoon mold, like "Trouble Comes Running", which fits the bill right down to its ramshackle production. There are muffled acoustic guitars, fuzzy drums and bass panned hard to the left and a short stack of harmony vocals pushed high in the mix. Also, the album-closer "Nobody Gets Me But You" is one of a newer style of Spoon compositions that have been cropping up since Gimme Fiction's "I Turn My Camera On" -- driven by a funky rhythm section and dusted with fluttery bits of discordant keys. The only jarring spot for me on the record is "Goodnight Laura", a lullaby that seems to feature Kermit the Frog humming a wordless melody under the chorus. It's heartfelt piano and perhaps overly-close vocal seem out of place next to the rest of an album whose songs make their mark with a firm hand rather than a feather touch.

2 comments:

WEB SHERIFF said...

WEB SHERIFF
Who You Gonna Call
Tel 44-(0)208-323 8013
Fax 44-(0)208 323 8080
websheriff@websheriff.com
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Hi alstr,

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 unreleased / 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, New Year's gesture to fans and bloggers, an exclusive preview stream of the full album is now available via 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 NPR, so please reciprocate this goodwill gesture by NOT ripping or embedding these files.

Thanks again for your plug.

Regards,

WEB SHERIFF

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