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Spoon - Hot Thoughts (Album Review)

Thursday, 23 March 2017 Written by Graeme Marsh

Despite having amassed an impressive back catalogue that now runs to nine studio albums, Spoon remain unsung heroes. A lack of radio airplay probably accounts for part of that in the UK, but the amount of critical acclaim afforded to them is considerable. According to the review aggregator site Metacritic, in fact, the Austin band were the best reviewed of the ‘00s.

Spanning almost a quarter of a century, Spoon’s canon boasts several top notch LPs, with 2005’s ‘Gimme Fiction’ perhaps the most notable, but there are plenty of other impressive collections to choose from should your curiosity finally get the better of you. Their most recent offering, 2014’s ‘They Want My Soul’, was another to grab the eye by carefully placing some rollicking tracks among the usual mix of guitars, experimentation and kookiness.

‘Hot Thoughts’ is the band’s first to be released since their return to Matador - where it all started with 1996’s ‘Telephono’ - and although it remains easily identifiable as Spoon, there’s a slight change in emphasis as synthesizers take more precedence than on previous efforts.

They’ve never deviated too far from their template, though, so the claim that ‘Hot Thoughts’ is the “bravest, most sonically inventive work of their illustrious career” is probably a little optimistic.

The title track opens proceedings and it’s an immediate injection of everything you love about Spoon. There’s a memorable, descending guitar riff – nothing spectacularly original but compelling nonetheless – as well as some ticking, unorthodox percussion, instantly catchy melodies and a brushing of quirkiness. It’s an impressive start that leaves you wanting more.

Hot on its heels comes the mysteriously named WhisperI’lllistentohearit, a strong contender for the album’s biggest highlight. You may not be able to read its title, but it’s very easy on the ears and its distorted guitars are not a million miles removed from Arcade Fire. The fun continues during the bluesy plod of Do I Have To Talk You Into It, its eccentric keys being of particular note, while the tempo increases for another joyously catchy number in First Caress.

Weaving, snake-charmer like synths propel the excellent Can I Sit Next To You while choppy guitars furnish the confrontational Shotgun, which tells a tale of a run-in before complaining “you’re the one that brought a shotgun”. Perhaps best of all, though, is the minimalist yet emotionally charged I Ain’t The One, with Britt Daniel’s vocals bearing a hint of Foals' Yannis Philippakis and packing a seriously powerful punch. Tear It Down – the first overtly political song the band have ever penned – and closer Us, though, carry less weight and come across as bland and uneventful in comparison to the rest of the album.

As icon after icon met their maker during 2016, Spoon found themselves revisiting their David Bowie and Prince collections and it’s true that there’s a smattering of sex appeal here that hasn’t really been present before. But, although the impetus and influences for ‘Hot Thoughts’ may have partly been down to the unfortunate demise of some of the greatest artists the world has ever seen, this is still undeniably Spoon. And once again they’ve managed to continue their journey in an exciting direction.

Spoon Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Tue June 27 2017 - MANCHESTER Manchester Gorilla
Wed June 28 2017 - GLASGOW Art School Glasgow
Fri June 30 2017 - LONDON O2 Forum Kentish Town

Click here to compare & buy Spoon Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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