THE GRADE A
BOTTOM LINE Honing their indie-rock songs until they are sharper and harder-hitting
Spoon has long been one of indie rock’s most dependable, most interesting bands. But ever since singer Britt Daniel returned from his side project Divine Fits in 2012, the Austin, Texas, rockers have only grown stronger and sharper.
And with the new album “Hot Thoughts” (Matador), Spoon has reached a new plateau.
As Daniel and the rhythm section of drummer Jim Eno and bassist Rob Pope have done for years, Spoon skillfully crafts stylish, synth-driven songs that sound like James Bond themes waiting to happen, especially in the title track and the groovy “Pink Up.”
There’s a bit of mid-Aughts Radiohead to the poignant “I Ain’t the One” and a bit of playful mid-’80s dance pop in “First Caress.”
But the real surprise comes in “Tear It Down,” where Daniel offers a simple, but powerful, bit of resistance, declaring, “They can build a wall around us . . . It’s just bricks and ill intentions, they don’t stand a chance, I’ll tear it down.” It’s clearly a reference to President Trump’s planned wall, but it’s also designed, in the catchiest way possible, to champion personal connection — something all of “Hot Thoughts” does successfully.