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Thursday, August 9, 2007

Record Review: Ga Ga for Spoon's Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

Spoon main-man Britt Daniel writes inscrutable, catchy, hook filled songs that feel emotional even as he builds walls around his true meanings. It's clear from the press info from his band's latest that it is breakup related, and songs like the pensive "Don't Make Me a Target" seem to reference our current political climate. That this album is as personal as Daniel gets is conveyed mostly by tone and feel, his characteristically stripped down arrangements peppered with deliberately left-in studio talk and off-kilter instrument punch-ins.

At first listen, there's nothing here that is radically different from past Spoon albums. Where A Series of Sneaks to Girls Can Tell to Kill the Moonlight felt like a band making great leaps from album to album the transition from 2005's Gimme Fiction to Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga feels more like consolidation. The horns on "You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb" echoing the horns on 2002's "Jonathan Fisk", the spare studio atmospherics of "The Ghost of you Lingers" suggests "Stay Don't Go", also from 2002. The more I listen however, the more depth comes out, and the quality and layering of each song makes the rank among, if not above, their previous high points. Though there is nothing as revelatory as "I Turn My Camera On" from the last album, but Spoons trademark sparseness is used here to hide little hooks and sonic fillips that emerge with repetition. The echo on Daniel's voice in "Rhthm and Soul", the Spanish styled guitar solo on "Japanese Cigarette Case", "the garbled chatter in "Finer Feelings" all suggest that the layers that Spoon spent so many albums peeling back are now being laid back on strategically. The previously mentioned songs are all highlights, as are the wonderful closer "Black Like Me", a Spoon ballad par excellance which is more about soul than skin. Spoon has been nothing if not consistent and they once again have delivered a shoo-in for many critics' end of the year lists. Four out of five spoons:

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