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Rob Huff

CD of The Week

Week of 3/20/17

    Spoon - Hot Thoughts (Matador)

    Over the course of nine albums, Spoon has developed an unassailable reputation for quality, reliable indie rock. Britt Daniel, Jim Eno and their oft-changing cast of musical cohorts built a sturdy blueprint of sharp guitar riffs, keyboard flourishes and a steady backbeat into their own style. However, this Spoon sound is fully capable of being pushed and pulled into new directions without breaking their mold.

    That brings us to the brand-new Hot Thoughts, leaning into the trippier side they've touched on with songs like "Outlier" or "The Ghost of You Lingers." Hot Thoughts kicks off with the title track, perhaps the sexiest Spoon song since "I Turn My Camera On." "Do I Have To Talk You Into It" brings out that classic Spoon vibe with vibrating, lurching guitars, jittery pianos and an Elvis Costello-ish chorus. The funky "Can I Sit Next To You" also could only be a Spoon composition, again driven by Daniel's guitar and Eno's percussion, with weird sonic elements and keyboards around the edges that float In and out.

    "WhisperI'llListenToHearIt" goes from a whisper to a scream as swirling studio sounds and drums pick up about halfway through. Two highlights come late in the record: "Tear It Down" mixes together allusions to Trump's divisive ways, both literally and figuratively, with the feeling of distance between individuals. And the most straightforward rocker on Hot Thoughts is "Shotgun," includes a timely lyric about how "Back when we couldn't afford the Continental / You and me dreaming 'bout full medical and dental."

    Hot Thoughts is only really weighed down by feeling like a slight record. Out of its 10 songs, one and a half are more or less lyric-less. "Pink Up" is a spacy, minimalist jam right smack in the middle of the record, which then ends with the wholly instrumental "Us." Daniel has said he listened to a lot of David Bowie while making this album but "Us" actually sounds more like Blackstar than anything else in the Thin White Duke's catalog. A five-minute jazz-rock experimental track, it brings Hot Thoughts to a cool close.

    The songs on Hot Thoughts may not be as sturdy and hooky as those on 2014's They Want My Soul, but Spoon never have truly missed their target, and this new album is another enjoyable collection of hot licks.

    **Donate $20 or more to Y-Not Radio this week to receive a copy of Hot Thoughts on CD. Click here for details.
    Review by Joey O.

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