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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Spoon
Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
Merge

Rating: 8/10 ?


July 25, 2007
In composing a review of Spoon's latest album, I am inspired to write with the same economy of style that the Austin outfit applies to their music. Britt Daniel's band has had a remarkable run of albums that adhere to a age-old winning formula: no-frills, workmanlike, fine craftsmanship. Like Levi's 501's and Rod Carew, they consistently get the job well done. When you have the comfort and confidence to land base-hits, seemingly on demand, who needs acid-washed trends and steroidal homers?

I cannot think of a Spoon album that is not a thoroughly enjoyable spin, end to end, and Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga is no exception. Like most of their back catalog, the record is precise and concise, with no weak links. In fact, as Spoon are wont to do, the album is peppered with standouts. The opening moments of "Don't Make Me a Target" immediately exhibit the trademark Spoon sonics: choppy, scale descending guitar; simple rhythm, and Daniel barely singing "Here comes a man from the star/ We don't know why he goes so far." For the many devoted fans of this band it's as uplifting as a game winning single.

Like most releases from Daniel and Co. Ga gets better with each successive listen, as much of the band's strength lies in the details. On "The Ghost of You Lingers" a haunting piano riff of repeated chords (that inspired the album's title) and echoed vocal are the perfect backdrop for the restless lyrical imagery, "When the breath gets shallow and fast/ We put on a clinic/ If you were here would you calm me down or settle the score."

Ga does bring in some non-traditional instruments, at least for Spoon, most notably the abundant use of brass. Horns first appear on the poppy "You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb," but really kick in on the bouncy romp "The Underdog." Mariachi riffs flow effortlessly alongside handclaps, acoustic strumming, and Daniel exhorting "Picture yourself in a living room/ Your pipe and slippers set out for you." Spoon has always found the perfect balance of sugar and salt.

"My Little Japanese Cigarette Case" has just three lines, and a Flamenco guitar line that would make Al Di Meola blush. Lest Spoon forget their disco moves from Gimme Fiction, there is album highlight "Don't You Evah." The walking bassline alone struts with enough swagger to break a sweat; throw in smooth harmonies, falsetto, and FM-ready guitar leads, and the song moves like it was recorded on a hot sidewalk.

Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga doesn't break down any barriers, and it follows the same recipe Spoon has been feeding us with through the years. Some of the album's familiarities are so stark that a few of the tracks could even be interchangeable with previous albums, but if any band has carte blanche to follow a formula, it is Spoon. No other working band has established such a consistent (and great) sound over this prolific an output. Coloring within the lines of their minimal approach to music, Spoon has again produced a collage of songs that may be proverbial, but are not paint-by-numbers. Don't call it a rut, they've been here for years.

Reviewed by Ari Shapiro
A staff writer for LAS, Ari Shapiro mixes up pretty unique smoothies at XOOM in hot Tucson.

See other reviews by Ari Shapiro

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