Spoon has a new record coming out in August, and today a song escaped or was pushed, called The Rent I Pay. It’s okay, a thumping beat and some layers of guitars and distortion, with lyrics I’m not obsessive enough to understand just yet.
Back in 2007 I bought Spoon’s rapturously reviewed album Ga Ga Ga Ga. Actually I downloaded the tracks from my music vendor of choice then, eMusic. So while I have the files, I don’t know the package, which I’m sure had a torturously tiny lyrics sheet. Which may be why I played the stuff a bunch of times and then it oozed back into the deep well that is my music library. I remember liking it well enough, but obviously not indelibly.
And from a couple of listens today to the Rent I Pay and a revisit to Ga Ga Ga Ga, I think the problem is obvious. These guys are, as everyone says, one of the best rock n roll bands of our times, but they’re not quite right. The tempo isn’t pushed forward enough, the songs don’t swing. The crunch is big, but echoes over a static landscape into which it curls up and dies. The problem of comparisons is that there aren’t that many rock bands these days, apart from the ones playing the oldies. Call that small pond syndrome.
And these guys aren’t young, like Fidlar. Spoon formed in 1993, in the heights of rock’s last gasp, Grunge.
Sorry to make this sound like such a drag, Spoon isn’t really that. But it doesn’t burst with excitement, the way the Black Keys sometimes do (or did, in their early days). This bit of white reggae is just fine, but it really makes me want to hear Dreadlock Holiday.