Album Review: Spoon – They Want My Soul

spoonEditor’s Note: Spoon will be performing at Covington’s Madison Theater Saturday, June 13. Tickets are still available here. Check Live From The Internet for live music coverage and videos.

Spoon’s eighth studio album They Want My Soul has one great, defining quality: it sets the mood in a variety of ways.

It’s one thing when a band finds a niche and can paint that specific setting with their music, but what Spoon does is rare. The Texas band has a knack for being a chameleon on this album, blending into whatever musical atmosphere they like.

The album’s second song, “Inside Out” has such a good bassline. It’s accompanied by rising synths and interesting lyrics as well. In a lot of ways, it’s very much like an alternative rock song, but it’s far from your average joe rock song. It’s a lot more… weird – in a good way. The catchy chorus bridges the gap from strange to accessible pretty well. It even finished out with plenty of relaxing melodies jamming through wordless sections. The song sounds like sitting on a porch somewhere, but not necessarily in a country way. It’s just serene.

The setting shifts to 60’s motorcycle culture on “Rainy Taxi.” This one sounds like you’re riding down the road with its chugging bass and bending guitar plucks. The classic blues chord progression is too familiar and likable not to like.

“Do You” is a great radio jam with a snappy drum backbone propping up the catchy, dreamy vocal melodies.

But the instrumentation of the album can change just as easily. “Knock Knock Knock” comes with an electronic sounding drum kit and a burning chord progression. There’s eerie whistling, lots of abstract noises and even freakout guitar scrambling.  This one could be called a campfire song from the future.

Not every song is as great as some of these. One loose song truly is the “Outlier” as its titled – it feels like an interlude. This isn’t to say it’s not enjoyable; it eventually settles into its bass line with some fun lyricism through verses. But mostly it’s a lot of “ooh nah nah, nah nah’s,” and doesn’t throw the kitchen sink at you like other Spoon songs have up to this point.

“I Just Don’t Understand” is a bouncy saloon ballad. It’s a great song that anyone should be able to relate to. One of the album’s latest tracks is perfect for a dimly lit night club.

Overall the album is better than your run of the mill alternative rock album. Spoon knows how to keep things interesting and lots of times their songs amount to more than the sum of their parts. The Texas band has been together for nearly 20 years, but you wouldn’t be able to tell by They Want My Soul. They remain just as innovative as ever.

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