Spoon Go Undercover As Formulaic Alt-Rock




If I wanted to listen to generically crappy indie alt-rock, I’d cue up Hoobastank. But Spoon is a group we expect a little more out of. Or a lot more. From the same men who brought us the awesomely catchy and peculiar Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga in 2007, seventh studio record Transference should have been, at the very least, a rung above mediocre.

But Transference doesn’t transcend anything. It’s like Spoon went into the indie-rock handbook and followed a step-by-step formula on how to write a semi-hit. Each cut has an unwavering, steady pace, plodding along without any variety before coming to an abrupt end.

But this isn’t as bothersome as the fact that they all run at least a minute too long. This is the A.D.D. Twitter generation; how do you expect us to pay attention for an extra minute of bass drum and guitar strums when we get impatient waiting for a Web page to load?

In its journey to experiment with new genre trends, Spoon dabbles with odd echoic Auto-Tune on “Is Love Forever?” and “Who Makes Your Money.” As a result, the album’s overall aesthetic is awfully inconsistent, jumping abruptly from fast-paced feel-good melody “The Mystery Zone” to “Written in Reverse,” a chugging number with somber piano plunks and raw, aggro vocals.

The LP’s saving grace is “I Saw the Light,” which weaves smooth vocals and blown-out riffs with calmer ones, and an epic buildup with some “Fuck yeah!” strumming that completely shifts gears mid-song, keeping our attention spans in check.

For the most part, Spoon plays a crappy version of their garage-rock facade, resulting in 11 run-of-the-mill tunes that aren’t terrible, but definitely aren’t anything we’ll put on repeat. Guess it’s time to switch to sporks.