Spoon
Transference


4.0
excellent

Review

by Cam EMERITUS
January 9th, 2010 | 63 replies | 18,139 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Transference presents the kind of Spoon that's all too easy to fall in love with.

I can't imagine the kind of prude that could dislike a band like Spoon. Sure, they're a popular indie-pop band coming up during the age of forums and blogs - there's going to be some backlash. But I fail to understand it: the band basically specializes in carefree, easy-going pop and creamy, irresistible hooks, without becoming (too) annoying. And they've done this successfully for four albums straight now, Transference being an attempt to be the fifth. What's not to like? What kind of self-important douche could not like this kind of shit, at least every once and a while?

Most often, someone who dislikes a Spoon album usually cites the band's sterile sound as their main problem, which is somewhat understandable: Spoon is a band that keeps their orchestration tight and their songwriting tighter. But this what I like when it comes to, say, Kill the Moonlight or Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. I appreciate how they never overdo it. I visit or revisit a Spoon album with the expectation that I'm going to get the kind of suave, taut hooks that the band specializes in, accented by Britt Daniel’s slanted, uneven wails.

And this is why I like Transference so much. Sure, it's different enough from their other stuff to not be considered a retread of old material - the off-key piano ballad “Goodnight Laura” and the trippy, oddly funky psych-out “Who Makes Your Money” are key examples of great songs that differ from the idea of a traditional Spoon song. But much of Transference has all the aesthetic hallmarks of a great Spoon album, if not being thematically being what Spoon's previous albums were all about (more on that later). As noted, this is hardly a bad thing, especially when this tried formula results in songs as irresistible as “The Mystery Zone” and “Written in Reverse”.

Yet there's still something different about Transference, something that's hard to put a finger on. There aren’t any drastic changes in Spoon’s sound here - no fifteen-minute noise freakouts, no Britt Daniel getting all fucked up on heroin and sounding like a tortured cat. It's a Spoon album. It sounds like one, has the same great hooks like one, has Britt Daniel sounding great. Yet there is something darker, found in songs like “I Saw the Light”, which is an angular piece that's also one of Spoon's heavier songs, in both Daniel's impassioned singing and in the layered, grunge-y guitar work. Songs like “Goodnight Laura” and “Out Go the Lights” are even fucking mournful. What the hell's up, Spoon? Why so down?

Here's what I think it is: while Kill the Moonlight was a minimalist pop album that was heavily influenced by Prince, and Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga took its cues from Jamacian dub, Transference seems to be influenced by some much heavier shit, being 80s post-punk. Songs meander a bit more here; “Out Go The Lights” and “I Saw the Light” each have extended instrumental codas. They create an atmosphere, not unlike, say, Public Image Ltd. or The Cure, and the atmosphere created is usually not a happier one. Even more upbeat fare, like “Trouble Comes Running”, is thematically a little dark, especially lyrically; a notion all the more reinforced by “Goodnight Laura” following right after.

These subtle shades of darkness are perhaps what truly makes Transference so appealing to me, and a very early entry into 2010's canon of excellent albums (yes I know it's only fucking January!). It's an album that presents Spoon as a multi-faceted band, a band that still sounds like the kind of mildly adventurous yet still very poppy band that they've built up a reputation as, only with a little more edge. It's an album that presents the kind of Spoon that's all too easy to fall in love with.



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user ratings (242)
Chart.
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
dthompson89 (4)
Solid, funky and unique....

Matteo Ferrazzi (4)
Transference is a blod step in a different direction for Spoon, but it narrowly misses the spot amon...

Rudy K. STAFF (3.8)
"How comes it feels so familiar / when you never been there?"...


Comments:Add a Comment 
joshuatree
Emeritus
January 9th 2010



3743 Comments


yeah this isn't out for a little while but i wanted to get this review out of the way, since i've had it done for a while

get this album

Ponton
Emeritus
January 9th 2010



5787 Comments


Good review. Rudy will be happy to see this.

SeaAnemone
January 9th 2010



19936 Comments


great- this is one of my most looked forward to releases of the year

Digging: Natural Snow Buildings - The Night Country

Roach
January 9th 2010



2149 Comments


i mean i've never really found Spoon that interesting

PuddlesPuddles
January 9th 2010



4772 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

wow totally forgot about this

this made me happy

thebhoy
Emeritus
January 9th 2010



4459 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This band seriously does not know how to make a bad album. Excellent review, will wait to buy this, and listen to the npr stream starting monday. Pumped for this.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
January 9th 2010



7322 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

good review, i'll probably check this out, when is it released?

scotish
January 9th 2010



835 Comments


so is this a good place to start with spoon in general?

PuddlesPuddles
January 9th 2010



4772 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Haven't listened to this yet, but try listening to Kill the Moonlight or Girls Can Tell
first


Also: "What kind of self-important douche doesn't this kind of shit, at least every once and a
while? " missing a small word

Skyler
January 9th 2010



1084 Comments


I don't dislike Spoon, but their music just doesn't interest me in the slightest.

thatguy84
January 9th 2010



214 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm pretty excited to hear this.

Photon
January 9th 2010



1292 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

defintely going to give this a listen ..thanks to the reviewer

hydeyomoney
January 9th 2010



934 Comments


Sorta liked their last album, will look into this with high hopes.

Chewie
January 9th 2010



4531 Comments


[img]http://www.smoothharold.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/03/spoon.jpg[/img]

Rationalist
January 9th 2010



880 Comments


I love spoon.

Rationalist
January 9th 2010



880 Comments


written in reverse is awesome. I'm writing this to ya in reverse...

AggravatedYeti
January 10th 2010



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this is so goooooodddd.

also --
'the band basically specializes in carefree, easy-going pop and creamy, irresistible hooks, without becoming (too) annoying.'

nail on the head there, wtf is everyone's issue? Ill never understand.

PuddlesPuddles
January 10th 2010



4772 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Don't know but The Way We Get By was my favorite song a while back for a couple of months

AggravatedYeti
January 10th 2010



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

^ because it's *really* good/catchy?

PuddlesPuddles
January 10th 2010



4772 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Well - yeh. :]



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