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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
Transference
Merge

Rating: 8.7/10 ?


January 20, 2010
Transference could easily have been a victory lap. And sure, some folks are going to balk a bit (it's surprising sometimes how easy it is to take Spoon for granted), but Transference is a challenging, mature statement from a band generally known for more for refining their approach with each release.

You're going to see a lot of snapshot assessments of their previous albums in the coming months, running right down the line, but I want to make the argument that Transference works at using imperfection to underline their already established vocabulary of sounds. For a band known to fidget in the studio and use carefully constructed minimalism to make their brand of rock and roll more aerodynamic and singular, this new album seems intent of leaving the edges rough.

In the case of a song like "Is Love Forever?" we hear the vocals being fussed over with such care and precision but the band sounds like they're firmly in demo mode, existing only to compliment Daniel's vocals. The album-opening "Before Destruction" has a chicken scratch with such little variety in tone that it has to be considered more percussive than anything, but such delicate attention is paid to the ramshackle layers of vocals and synths that you can't help but feel like every seemingly careless moment is a well thought out choice. To me, the fact that it's so difficult to write off perceived mistakes is what separates Spoon from many of their peers.

As with any album (Spoon or otherwise) it's when all of it comes together that the real magic happens. I have cautiously described "Written in Reverse" as my favorite Spoon single, and I get a little less cautious when every time I hear them tread that line between "sloppy" (we've been over this-that's what they want you to think) and so precisely neurotic that it could only have been Britt Daniels and Jim Eno's production.

The jittery pound of the piano and Daniel's impressively shredded vocals (with lots of little add-ons slathered on in post-production), and the in-the-red coda set up a punch almost designed as a reward for anyone that stuck with the studio experiments that lead off the album. It's a nice gesture, but when you read the blogs and comment sections across this great wide interweb, "Who Makes Your Money?" is emerging as an early fan favorite and "Goodnight, Laura" seems to be inspiring enough discussion that it's tossed-off qualities seem to be an asset, not a hindrance.

Sure, some will nit-pick, and others will praise this, but every time I see a subpar rating rating or review because they didn't knock it out of the park completely (like Yankee fans who think they had a bad season because they didn't win the World Series), I always find myself grimacing: sometimes it's more interesting not to knock it out. When you consider that fans were initially disappointed by Kill the Moonlight's sterile minimalist and that album made LAS' top of the decade list, I think it's tough to say how truly divisive this will be when we look back at the end of the year. And I'll contend that a divisive Spoon record is better than no Spoon record at all.

Reviewed by Cory Tendering
No biographical information is currently available.

See other reviews by Cory Tendering

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