Since 1996, Austin rock band Spoon have experimented with their sound across eight unique LPs. While they don’t reinvent the wheel every time, they really aren’t trying to; listening to a new Spoon album is always a safe bet. There’ll be funky grooves, catchy basslines, and progressively more adventures into electronic instruments. On March 17th, Spoon released Hot Thoughts, their ninth LP.
Hot Thoughts expands on the electronic funk-flavored beats of They Want My Soul, their last record released in 2014. This time around, Spoon decided to play with their sound palette a little more, channelling classic New Wave bands like Depeche Mode.
The album kicks off with the title track, and it sets the tone for the entire record. Grimy guitar riffs glide over a fast, funky beat as vocalist Brett Daniel sporadically sings in the upper register. The band then shows their Depeche Mode influence most conspicuously on “WhisperI’lllistentohearit,” which sounds like it could have easily fit on Depeche Mode’s seminal 1990 album Violator.
“Do I Have to Talk You Into It” is a classic Spoon jam, with heavy crashing symbols that recall Kill the Moonlight, Spoon’s glorious 2002 breakout album. The next track, “First Caress,” is possibly the most forgettable song on the album, but thankfully it is followed up by the centerpiece of the record, “Pink Up.” This hypnotic song features wonderfully mesmerizing marimbas, making for a standout number in Spoon’s increasingly vast catalogue.
“Can I Sit Next to You” comes next, which served as the album’s biggest single. This track brings to mind “I Turn My Camera On,” the 2005 Gimme Fiction track and one of Spoon’s most popular songs. The infectiously catchy rhythm, which support the song’s seductive lyrics, makes “Can I Sit Next You” one of the more memorable tunes in the tracklist.
Hot Thoughts is not revolutionary, and it is certainly not perfect. The album sputters out towards the end with “Shotgun,” and particularly with the final track “Us,” which is a bizarre five minute venture into ambient noise. While somewhat interesting, these last few songs rupture the cohesive nature of the rest of the LP. Nevertheless, Spoon continues to showcase unparalleled consistency with the latest in a streak of at least solid albums. It won’t blow your mind, but Hot Thoughts can give you your indie rock fix in a world where hip-hop reigns supreme.
Key Tracks: “Hot Thoughts”, “Pink Up”, “Can I Sit Next to You”