You can click the button at the top right corner to listen to music from this album while you read the review.
It's been four long years since we've heard from Spoon (let's ignore the Divine Fits for a bit shall we?). 2010's Transference was critically acclaimed and helped to establish the band as Metacritic's "Top Overall Artist of the Decade," an accolade that most people would've guessed belonged to Radiohead or some such common household name; yet Spoon is anything but. Formed in the early '90s by guitarist Britt Daniel in Austin, the band has been releasing a steady diet of enduring albums since 1996. With a light tone that would've been (and was) called alternative over fifteen years ago, Spoon was one of the most consistent bands of the past decade and now Britt Daniels and company have set themselves up to be just as consistent in this one. Winning.
For those unfamiliar with Spoon, know that they are a repository of vibrancy, even more so on They Want My Soul than I remember on past entries Gimme Fiction and Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (both of which are excellent). Think of a decisively non British Arctic Monkeys with less reliance on sexual innuendos and you're off to a great start. They Want My Soul is fiercely compact and concise, starting with "Rent I Pay" dual producers Joe Chiccarrelli (White Stripes, My Morning Jacket), and Dave Fridmann (MGMT, Tame Impala), are a tour de force of crafting interweaving guitars and resonating snares. Not that any prior Spoon offerings have had bad production, but They Want My Soul is respectively enticing with production values that are neither obtrusive nor inadvertently distracting (Dangermouse anyone?). "Everybody knows the faces you been showin' and if that's your answer, no, I ain't your dancer," resolves a vocal Britt Daniels before an excellent fade out and in to one of the albums standout tracks "Inside Out".
Featuring a rather subtle beat closer to hip hop than indie "Inside Out" also features a resonance of atmospheric synth with wind chime elements that makes the track identifiable on many fronts, none of which are bad. "Rainy Taxi" is equally as strong, a fast paced bass guitar driven track that has the makings of late night high speed chase. Lyrically strong, with vocals pondering the possible fleetingness of romance, musical hysteria builds into well placed layers of affable sound that include a guitar solo that doesn't deter or give anything away - "Rainy Taxi" ends unknowingly and that's what makes it a gem. "Do You" rounds out the trifecta of stupidly superb songs in a row with it's trippy pop vocals that circulate overheard while drummer Jim Eno keeps the track intriguing with an excellent drum beat below.
This is normally the point in the review where I point out a blaring weakness in the album or comment on some uncanny occurrence that will leave listeners perturbed, They Want My Soul has neither. The album offers no gimmicks, it is still guitar, bass, and drum driven music (meticulously so) at the core in a genre that is keen on obsoleting it. While some tracks are not as strong as others ("Outlier" comes to mind), Spoon has crafted a meritorious album that has a number of fantastic tracks that take more than one hand to count.