February 10, 2022
(Matador)Ten albums and nearly three decades in, Spoon still sound fresh, with swing and swagger – and there isn’t a dull moment
Spoon: Lucifer on the Sofa review – timeless perfection from US indie stalwarts
Maybe the hardest trick in rock music is to do what John Peel credited as the singular ability of the Fall – to sound always different, but always the same. Plenty of groups have flourished by always being the same; plenty more artists see it as their duty to make sure each album sounds utterly unlike the one before. But to sustain a career without ever completely repeating yourself, yet never leave anyone wondering what the heck you’ve done to the group they loved, is something few manage to pull off. Ten albums and nearly 30 years into their career, Spoon still sound like Spoon: fresh, timeless and wholly in control of their work.
The Spoon sound – spacious, uncluttered but powerful, both scratchy and crystalline – is so distinct that even the fact no individual element sounds even remotely unusual makes no odds. Britt Daniel’s voice – not powerful, but a soulful yowl – has character, but his guitar playing isn’t going to have putative axe heroes trying to work out his technique. The single most notable element – the drumming of the band’s other pole, Jim Eno – is marked by restraint, rather than flashiness. Bass, keyboards and any other elements (horns, electronics) are there to colour the songs, rather than dominate. Spoon can be a bit funky, a bit poppy, a bit rocky, but always them.
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