05 February 2010

Spoon - Transference

I'll start out by saying that there are a couple of really good songs on here. "Got Nuffin", "Mystery Zone", and "Nobody Gets Me But You" especially stand out. "Got Nuffin", a song released last year on an EP is their staple barn-burner. "Mystery Zone" plays with a shimmery, echoed guitar which builds into the chorus with piano and (presumably Pro-Tooled) strings to create this creepy, "Twilight Zone"-esque warp. And "Nobody Gets Me But You" has one of the fattest bass riffs on a Spoon record to date.

But overall it's territory that Spoon have covered on each of their previous albums. It's diminishing returns. "Out Go the Lights" is a poor version of "Metal Detektor", "Written in Reverse" is the coupling of "Beast and Dragon, Adored" and "I Turn My Camera On", but with the conviction of neither. "Goodnight Laura" is a complete misstep, aiming for the sincerity of "I Summon You" and the chilling sobriety of "Paper Tiger" and completely falling short. It's missing artistic depth completely, and drips with mushy drabness. It would better suit a Ben Folds record. Even "Got Nuffin" is basically "Jonathan Fisk" rehashed.

I suppose more than anything, I'm simply disappointed. I've liked Spoon for a really long time, and after each subsequent full-length I've never felt like they've let me down. Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga is a great batch of pop songs, Gimme Fiction is a record with such immense depth, and Kill the Moonlight is a masterpiece all its own. Girls Can Tell was the album that initially got me hooked. Series of Sneaks, while not as interesting as the rest of the lot, still took on a straightforward sound of its own and ran with it. Transference, on the other hand, is a mixed bag that just simply doesn't live up to the reputation Spoon built for themselves. While I'll continue to give it its fair share of spins, I just don't see this thing becoming much of a grower.


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