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Spoon - Transference CD Review Artist:
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Merge Records
January 19th, 2010
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Utilizing some beautifully beguiling tape splicing and dubby sonic tricks, Transference further explores the possibilities of Britt Daniel’s special brand of bluesy, staccato rock. Spoon’s latest album is full of fascinating contradictions, at once energetic and beatific, abrupt and fluid, as Daniel’s shifty, quaking vocals switch modes in startlingly catchy and emotionally earnest ways.

The tangled electric guitar chomp and tilt-a-whirl percussion of “Is Love Forever” tweaks delightfully as Daniel’s vocals are slowly manipulated and chopped into a slightly schizophrenic mish-mash that begins innocently enough: “I grew up in a supermarket, it was there they told me / If they can’t find me they won’t leave without me / Now or ever.” Daniel slips his words into the mix and propelled by the driving instrumental force, they seem to take off like a paper airplane drifting every which way in careening loop de loops from the side of a skyscraper, dropping in and out with little warning, but maximum impact.

“Trouble Comes Running” and “Goodnight Laura” make a deliberate paring, acting as counterpoints that enhance one another: a garage stomp juxtaposed with a languid piano-driven ballad. The sibling songs mimic each other with mirrored backing vocals that swoon and swell like a string quartet. “Who Makes Your Money” allows an eerie/funky tremolo chorus to drift into and out of sustained muted chords, creating enough tension to dance along with the laid back shuffle. “Written In Reverse” finds Daniel’s voice rasping and raw within a volley of honky-tonk piano and lashing blues guitar. And “Out Go The Lights” is simply one of those moments where the pairing of bass and guitars and a roomy drum kit allows a band to show more than a glimpse of soul, taking the standard ingredients and warping them by sheer force of personal creative vision. The track eventually breaks apart and fades, until only a crisp four-four drum beat remains. It sounds exactly like a heartbeat.

Favorite Track: “Out Go The Lights”

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Reviewer Bio - Christopher j Ewing is a writer and filmmaker living in Los Angeles with a girl and a designer dog. He is in a band by himself, has a myspace account at and a production company at ( for freelance film, video and journalism work.

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