Spoon
Gimme Fiction


4.5
superb

Review

by teoferrazzi USER (10 Reviews)
October 20th, 2010 | 14 replies


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Gimme Fiction doesn't shine with the same aura of icy perfection as Kill the Moonlight , but it is perhaps more enjoyable a listen.

Spoon had already undergone a few lifecycles before they released this record, their first since their relative claim to fame (Kill The Moonlight standout The Way We Get By being featured in the OC soundtrack). Their new phase had started with Girls Can Tell, where their punk leanings had (nearly disappeared, ushering in a new sparse and loungy sound that owed less to the Pixies and more to Wire. The album following that, Kill The Moonlight, was an exponential improvement in that post-punk direction, with songs that were perfectly balanced and without the slightest redundant item added to the mix.

Kill the Moonlight is the kind of record that leaves an almost unbearable legacy. It was so perfect that improving it based on the same premises would be nearly impossible. Gimme Fiction is definitely an acknowledgement of that fact: Spoon tried to broaden their influence range and mess with their aesthetic, which is partly an indication that they were comfortable enough with it to do that, and partly that they really had to find new directions. A taking-stock record this isn't.

Gimme Fiction immediately seems designed to be more 'epic' and 'grandiose' than anything they had done before.Spoon usually started their records unassumingly (take the slow burning synth pop of Everything Hits At Once, or the eerie and atmospheric Small Stakes), but here the beginning is a loud bang: The Beast And Dragon, Adored starts with pounding chords taken from the canon of rock, accompanied by shimmering, noisy guitar (a totally new thing for them). And here are some un-Spoon lyrics for you: "When you don't feel it it shows they tear out your soul/
And when you believe they call it rock and roll". All this when Spoon's music had always been about tasteful restraint rather than free expression, or feeling. What gives?

The whole record marks a turn to music that predates Spoon's usual influence pool, leaning towards 60s rock. The songs are less restrained and more alluring to the casual listener, more rife with instrumental parts, and they often favor a more earnest display of human emotion at the expense of Spoon's usual attitude which is more sassy and standoffish.

I Turn My Camera On, many a critic's favorite track from here, brings to mind the Rolling Stones' sexy jams, e.g Miss You. The Infinite Pet sports a prehistorical blues riff. Without its imposing and menacing air, The Beast And Dragon, Adored could be a Beatles song, and so could a handful of more melodic numbers like the lovely ballad I Summon You (their first acoustic ballad ever) or Sister Jack, which underwent an extreme makeover from a piano ditty in its demo phase into a massive and sunny rocker. Two Sides/ Monsieur Valentine is one of the most instantly appealing tracks, and it features strings, an ornament usually avoided by the band but perfectly well placed here.

For all the more accessible songs to be found here, Spoon still maintain their edge and alienating quality that permeated their best songs. My Mathematical Mind, my personal standout, develops in typical all-tension-no-release Spoon fashion: resting on ominous piano chords, it simply refuses to turn into a conventional chorus and instead it seamlessly flows into an exhilarating, noisy guitar flourish. Similarly conceived is The Delicate Place, which on top of that sounds like one of Wire's journeys into psychedelia (oh, there they are again).

The back half of the record is more electronic and sparse, and it features a couple numbers that could have fit well in Kill The Moonlight. Merchants Of Soul bears a striking resemblance to Back To The Life from that record, while Was It You?, with its understated grooviness that makes it stand out oddly from the rest of the record, in that is germane to Stay Don't Go.

Gimme Fiction is a great record. For all the risky paths taken here, I would still be hard-pressed to find a misstep (perhaps the somewhat plain The Infinite Pet, or the aimless They Never Got You). It doesn't shine with the same aura of icy perfection as Kill the Moonlight, but it is perhaps more enjoyable a listen.



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user ratings (447)
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
T_L_H (4)
Pounding, ominous piano, sputtering, crackling electic guitars, driving bass. This album haunts and ...



Comments:Add a Comment 
bloc
October 20th 2010


69363 Comments


I Turn My Camera On ROOOOOOOOOOLZ

SeaAnemone
October 20th 2010


21429 Comments


band s overlooked way way too much

thebhoy
October 20th 2010


4460 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This record has a special place in my heart.

teoferrazzi
October 20th 2010


31 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

dude I appreciated your criticism on the other one, please don't hold back

thebhoy
October 20th 2010


4460 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

with songs that were perfectly balanced and without the slightest redundant item added to the mix




A little wordy, I would go with something like: "avoiding redundancy with perfectly balanced songs"... also I'm assuming that you're talking about the general flow of the album (ie. the songs aren't samey sounding) you might want to make it more clear, and I think in part cleaning up the sentence like I did would help with that.



Also I really wouldn't say that Gimme Fiction is that great of a departure, it takes the restraint they had in the keyboard heavy Girls Can Tell and Kill the Moonlight and applies the aesthetic they used more on Telephono and Series of Sneaks. But that's just my opinion.



brings to mind the Rolling Stones' sexy jams, e.g Miss You


I think doing something like: "brings to mind 'Miss You' or other sexy jams from the Stones" is just a little more stylistic, though the sentence itself doesn't have an issue.

teoferrazzi
October 20th 2010


31 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

thanks. I agree with everything you said. especially with the e.g. . I think I did that because I wanted to cut the sentence short and bring less attention to the namedropping. or some shit like that. ok.. I don't see any Series Of Sneaks or any pre-Girls Can Tell in this Gimme Fiction, except for it being guitar-heavy. Could you elaborate on what you mean?

thebhoy
October 20th 2010


4460 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

sports a prehistorical blues riff


ehhh I don't think you want to use prehistorical, kind of hyperbolic in a strange way, you can just say blues riff and people would get it.



[quote]lovely ballad I Summon You (their first acoustic ballad ever)[/qupte]

This isn't entirely true, I mean, if you call that an acoustic ballad then so is Vittorio E. at the end of Kill the Moonlight.



And weird Was It You? Is my least favourite Spoon song, I find it overlong and repetitious. Also, They Never Got You is one of my favourites, I love the way the chorus develops into the handclaps, which have a really cool rhythm.



Overall I like this review better than your last one, your sentences flow a little better I just think you need to watch your diction because of connotations of words (ie. prehistoric and irreprehensible in your last review).

thebhoy
October 20th 2010


4460 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Could you elaborate on what you mean?




I guess I mean mostly the guitar driven aspect, especially the noisier parts. I think they also follow similar songwriting forms in this as with Series of Sneaks, though with the new found restraint it still sounds like not going back to their old sound, but just continuing to progress from their past two albums and only referencing that old sound. Idk it was just my thought I wouldn't suggest changing your opinion haha







teoferrazzi
October 20th 2010


31 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

This isn't entirely true, I mean, if you call that an acoustic ballad then so is Vittorio E. at the end of Kill the Moonlight



or 10.20 AM, but they don't have that quality of ballads, you know? they are just hazy acoustic numbers.. you wouldn't play them on Adult Contemporary Radio (which isn't a compliment for I Summon You, but you get what I mean!)



about the blues riff, well the sentence wouldn't flow as well if I didn't add an adjective. But agreed, there could have been a better choice.



As for your opinion on the Series Of Sneaks-ity of the record, I'm not gonna change my own opinion, I just wanted to understand. But I think that the guitar-driven aspect is just a thing on the surface, actually, and not necessarily essential to the way you perceive music, you know?

klap
Emeritus
October 20th 2010


12407 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

the beast and dragon, adored might be my favorite song ever. those lyrics you quoted are the headline on my blog

teoferrazzi
October 20th 2010


31 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

mine from Spoon is My Mathematical Mind which may or may not have to do with me being a physics major. but you agree they're un-Spoon, aren't they

klap
Emeritus
October 20th 2010


12407 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

definitely, but i love it

thebhoy
October 20th 2010


4460 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

But I think that the guitar-driven aspect is just a thing on the surface, actually, and not necessarily essential to the way you perceive music, you know?




I agree, it was more of an off hand comment than anything. And I'd say Vittorio E. is quite the ballad, though I agree 10:20 AM isn't of the same quality. Although now that I think about it, I'm not sure I think I Summon You is really a ballad... but maybe it is, hmm things to mull over.

iisblackstar
October 21st 2010


431 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

love this album.. need to revisit it



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