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Spoon - Lucifer on the Sofa (Album Review)

Monday, 21 February 2022 Written by Graeme Marsh

Photo: Oliver Halfin

Spoon’s 10th album ‘Lucifer on the Sofa’ was meant to be released a while back. But, as you may have heard, there’s been a pandemic on. Still, perhaps the delay was a good thing in this instance. Tracks originally destined for the collection were jettisoned as writing continued, and newly penned numbers came along in their place.

A few other things were changed along the way, too. Frontman Britt Daniel relocated to where it all started in Austin, Texas and touring members Ben Trokan (bass) and Gerardo Larios (guitars) were brought in full-time. Larios, in particular, has opened up some new doors with his skills. Guitar solos aren’t something you associate with Spoon but ‘Lucifer on the Sofa’ sees some interesting, if short, examples cropping up.

Swaggering into earshot like a Kasabian track before its distorted guitars kick in, The Hardest Cut is an example of how that new direction has boosted the band, as is The Devil And Mr Jones, where a rocking solo takes the plaudits.

On three further occasions—My Babe, On The Radio, Satellite—piano-led openings are overtaken by harder edges, and the latter also brandishes some impressive axe-work.

There’s a compelling catchiness on show too, with Feels Alright’s chorus of considerable appeal along with the excellent highlight Wild. Its opening bars threaten a cover of Queen’s Radio Ga Ga before Daniel delivers a Richard Ashcroft-like vocal performance. It’s addictive, essential pop-rock and things only improve with the addition of spine-tingling keyboard chords.

While we’re on the subject of covers, opener Held is a brilliant old Smog number and it’s given a significant overhaul by Spoon. Based on a repetitive, mesmerising guitar hook, Bill Callahan’s song is converted into a classic rock ‘n’ roll cut as the band stitch together two separate versions of the song they had developed.

Die hard fans may feel disappointed with the lack of trademark Spoon about turns or quirky detours on show but the closing title track should soothe those concerns a little. By the band’s own admission they didn’t feel it sat right on this record but, having been included after a rethink, it could probably only work in this slot given the meticulous sequencing on display.

‘Lucifer on the Sofa’ has undoubtedly benefited as a result of the constant tweaking brought on by isolation periods, and Spoon have managed, as they intended, to create a “kick-ass” record. It may not be the instant classic it’s been hailed as elsewhere but it’s comfortably perched near the top of the Spoon tree.

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