Spoon, a rock band hailing from Austin, Texas, released their ninth studio album Hot Thoughts on March 17 through Matador Records. Twenty four years and nine albums later, Spoon has maintained relevance in the rock world by tapping into their ability to overlay multiple instruments into a sound that is at worst chaotic, but at best an enjoyable, complex medley derived from simple musical patterns.
Spoon stands out when they tap into their distinct, fast-paced rock style with methodical background instrumentals, electric guitar solos, and compelling vocals. The band executes this style well on the first three tracks of Hot Thoughts. The album opens with “Hot Thoughts,” a record highlight that features bouncy, staccato vocals interspersed with electric guitar riffs while lead singer Britt Daniel croons, “Hot thoughts in my mind all of the time.”
The second track, “WhisperI’lllistentohearit,” builds from repetitive, simple electronic background noises into a catchy percussive beat and stands out with powerful vocals and impressive guitar solos. The track has a grandiose effect that would transition well into a large stadium venue. “Do I Have to Talk You Into It” includes memorable, heavy bass and piano that quickly transports listeners to a summer festival, where one could easily find himself stomping along to the beat. Coupled with mildly angsty lyrics (“Do I have to talk you into it/do we have to make sense of it” repeatedly), the track is nostalgic for simpler days.
Unfortunately, Spoon fails to captivate the listener whenever they stray away from this formula, resulting in a few forgettable tracks. “Pink Up,” a song where repetitive, electronic noises are interrupted by percussive interludes and dream-like, unrecognizable vocals, is ultimately a lackluster experiment. The song is unmarketable to a popular audience, and does not contribute much to the album despite its innovative sound. On “I Ain’t the One,” Spoon dabbles in a slower ballad-like sound with a distorted piano. It becomes clear throughout that Daniel’s vocals are not suited for this softer crooning.
Although Hot Thoughts begins strong with three tracks that showcase Spoon’s full potential, the remainder of the album unfortunately fails to include any true stand-out songs.
Voice’s Choices: “Hot Thoughts,” “Do I Have to Talk You Into It”