They Want My Soul
Spoon is one of those bands that struggles to make a bad record. Even their last effort, Transference, which dropped in and out of song structures, worked with such assuredness that it became a wonderful tapestry rather than an infuriating departure from their infallible melodies.
They Want My Soul is a hit straight back to 2007’s Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga or even 2005’s Gimme Fiction, but with even more depth. “Rent I Pay” stomps with the swagger of “I Turn My Camera On,” but wriggles with frustration. Guitars are dropped in chunks and the song snaps and crackles. The production throughout the album, courtesy of Joe Chiccarelli (Frank Zappa, Divine Fits) and Dave Fridmann (Weezer, Tame Impala), is sharp, adding another layer of clarity to the songs. “Inside Out” has clipped drums as Britt Daniel pleads in and out of falsetto that “time’s gone inside out,” while a QChord (or actually it could be a harp) plucks away serenely in the background. There’s loads of space to the song, and it chimes synthetically.
“Rainy Taxi” features a huge chorus and pounds on a piano note with the gusto of Northern soul before echo-laden guitars unfurl. It’s a modern day blues run, with Daniel declaring, “If you’re gone / You know you don’t come back.” Soul’s title track is another highlight, a soulful groove as guitar licks beam out sunshine proving that the Austin, Texas, band’s playful sound is still intact after twenty years. Daniel closes the track with the question “They want my soul / Oh why?” It sounds dreamy. A combination of sumptuous backing harmonies and a continuous flutter through minor, seventh, and major chord changes makes the track—as well as others on Spoon’s ninth full-length—a joyfully unpredictable affair.
They Want My Soul is classic Spoon, but it’s also more. There’s still the band’s signature mess, but it’s sonically crystalline; it’s fiery, romantic, and restless. It’s a superb album and a welcome return.