Many bands feel the need to constantly reinvent themselves — not Spoon. The Texan indie outfit’s seventh record picks up where they left off. The band’s sense of humour remains salient, but in a more mature form. Guitar, bass, drums and keyboard are again the only instruments utilised, but they draw out considerable diversity from this formula, moving effortlessly from indie to rock, from soul to pop. The feature that has always separated Spoon from their contemporaries, however, is the unique timbre of band leader Britt Daniels’s voice. This is as true as ever and one’s enjoyment of the record will largely depend on one’s reception of his strained but heartfelt singing.
The album opens anonymously, white noise blurring into distant vocals. This unremarkable beginning, however, serves to heighten the thrill of the inventive drumming and off-beat riffs that follow. The Mystery Zone approaches ambiguous subject matter with typically understated aplomb, while stand-out track Written In Reverse is strikingly memorable, its stop-start nature still managing to surprise with repeated listening. Daniels’s falsetto interjections (Got Nuffin) and humming solos (Goodnight Laura) add an attention to detail that gives Transference the charming character one has come to expect from a Spoon album.
Transference is no masterpiece, but it is a triumph for minimalism, sound being used with economy, making every note clear and distinct. Without being extravagant, Spoon have produced another stylish, commendable album.