Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Album Review: Spoon - Hot Thoughts

Spoon
Hot Thoughts
**** by *****

Not everyone likes Spoon, that is just a matter of taste, but real music fans have to admire their songwriting craft. Even Spoon fans will argue over their best record (Our vote? Slim nod to Gagagagaga over They Want My Soul) but each song seems to really dig into pop rock songwriting craft with a flourish. The band's ninth studio album finds them dipping the deepest they ever have into electronica, mixing dance elements and electro-beats with their patented blue collar pop rock song style; and it works.

The opening title track sets the complete tone of the disk, lustful late night lyrics meld with dance floor beats all around funky scratchy guitars. Right from the beginning the electronics hit the forefront (or back-beat) and the band swirl around welcoming them into the fold.

The more they roll on, the more white Austin funky they become. "WhisperI'lllistentohearit" starts with the title whispers and then revs up with bass runs, heavy dance beats and rock guitars, "Do I Have to Talk You Into It" reminds of "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me" filtered through a distorted dirty bar glass and "First Caress" keeps that dance vibe cooking getting better and better with each spin.

The centerpiece of the disk is "Pink Up" turns the dance down increase the space/psych-out with shaky percussion, and a sense of movement, but the track never explodes, instead it devolves into backtracked vocals, keys and strings to end. As an album focal point it isn't as powerful as projected, just a pause in the action before the dance floor fills again.

"Can You Sit Next to You" may be the best of the bunch with it's strut and swagger flashing back to Some Girls era Stones with so much confidence you can feel it through your speakers. The band even gets a touch political in their party mode with "Tear It Down" and while it might specifically be about a the promised wall between countries, it is certifiably about becoming closer to your fellow human. "I Ain't The One" is restrained and never goes far, while "Shotgun" pumps the big dance vibe to close the record before the saxophone led art experiment "Us" feels like a tacked on odd closing piece to a strong overall effort.  

While perhaps not as deep and solid as their best albums, it still holds up as a fun as hell disk that is a funky joy to listen to from top to bottom. Spoon keeps evolving while pumping out damn fine rock and roll, shake your ass to that.
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