Harsh, bare sounds and non-professional vocals define the sound of indie band Spoon. Their latest album, , is another example of their indie garage-brand of music.
The album begins with “Before Destruction” which, true to form, begins the song with very bare vocals and a lack of sound complementary harmonies. For the most part, one hears the bare rhythm and guitar melodies, as well as the singer’s voice, but nothing else. The latter half of the song, however, does feature a nice choral element that adds to the song’s diversity.
Following this up is “Is Love Forever,” a rather unorthodox love song that features a thick, slightly head-rocking beat that is supplemented with reiterative vocals.
The next song, “The Mystery Zone,” shifts the tone slightly. Featuring a much more laid-back guitar portion with a still repetitive backbeat, this song blends its guitar sounds with the synthesizer and piano elements. Overall, while the lyrics are nothing special, this song is great for easy listening and the music is definitely relaxing.
Next up is “Who Makes Your Money,” a song that completely changes the atmosphere of the album. Using a guitar to create the backing rhythm, the song contains slightly eerie, occasionally otherworldly vocals. Mixing that with shakers and the band has created a song great for a light, grooving feel that still manages to stay indie and new.
“Written in Reverse”, the album’s first single, comes with a much more active energetic vocal. The beat is well intermixed between a percussive piano rhythm and a rollicking, almost rebellious, tone. It owns up to its title of “first single” well and carries a mildly manic energy not found in many of the other songs.
Bringing down the energy to a more stable level is “I Saw the Light.” Unlike previous songs, the background space where harmonies often lie is well filled with grungy guitars and basses. The grungier solos are worth listening to and complement the singer’s harsh vocals throughout the song. Its piano solo near the end is well worth the buildup.
The garage sound and roots of the band are reaffirmed in “Trouble Comes Running” with a faster drumbeat that lacks the repetitiveness of previous songs. The vocals remind one of Red Hot Chili Peppers for certain portions of the song due to their frenetic, “rap-esque” delivery. The array of drumbeats, crashes and loud noises in general makes this song for garage band aficionados.
The next song, “Goodnight Laura,” seems to be trying something totally new. In a soft, sweet ballad where lush piano vocals abound, this song is a complete standout. The sweetness of this quick ballad is a huge contrast to the harsh, maverick sound of this album and indie bands in general.
Sweet, but still staying indie is “Out Go The Lights.” Maintaining a harmonious, occasionally choral vocal segment with a repeating drumbeat, the song is interlaced with a variety of instruments like synthesizers and electronic instruments. It seems to almost be a compliment to “Goodnight Laura” and a transition back into the beginning of an indie finale.
“Got Nuffin” kicks the album back up to critical energy, presumably for a high-powered finale. A fast drumbeat and bass line that never feels old, but fast-paced and urgent, the song’s music matches the lyrics, which speak of urgency and pursuing goals. However, this is oddly followed by “Nobody Gets Me But You,” which reiterates a heavy beat and lower key lyrics. The song is extremely bare, bringing it to full circle with the earlier songs. Ultimately, this ends up as a low-key end to the album.
Overall, the album gives what it promises; an indie beat that appeal to fans of the genre. Mainstream audiences might instead enjoy the more relaxing songs or the energy of the more frantic ones. With this album, what you see is what you get. If you’re an indie fan, you’ll definitely be pleased. If not, then the few standouts will make this album worthwhile for listening but not purchasing.