Lovers Lane
Copernicus Center

Spoon Reviewed

| July 26, 2006

Telephono/Soft Effects

Spoon’s place in indie rock lore was secured by their third and fourth albums. From here on — no matter if they license everything to McDonald’s or go completely off the deep end — they will be regarded as royalty. Originally released by Matador Records, Telephono and Soft Effects are being packaged together by Merge as an “in the beginning” overview.

A fine exhibition of Britt Daniel’s cooler-than-school vocal rasp and some taut post punk exercises, Telephono gains significantly from hindsight. “Don’t Buy The Realistic” still apes the Pixies somethin’ serious, though “Cvantez” and “Towner,” more than just being slower, now appear to drop hints as to Daniel’s songwriting prowess, when the bluster seemed to be the point when the album first arrived.

Soft Effects, however, cannot be overlooked and makes this package worth the price of rice. “Waiting For The Kid To Come Out” could be a fine match for Ted Leo’s repertoire and “I Could See The Dude” wafts in like Def Leppard’s “Hysteria” before breaking off into as good a track as Creeper Lagoon ever stumbled onto a record. Spoon still haven’t reconvened on the R.E.M.-with-a-’60s-bridge jangle pop of “Loss Leaders,” so there’s even that still in the tank for the future. That it came together after a tour means more than anything to Soft Effects‘ loose character and behaves almost as a rejection of its predecessor’s rigidity. It’s also as essential to Spoon’s trajectory as Girls Can Tell or Kill The Moonlight.


— Steve Forstneger

Appearing: Sunday, July 30th at Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago.

Category: Spins, Weekly

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