Spoon's winning streak just keeps going.
After releasing four consistently exceptional albums in The Aughts - "Girls Can Tell," "Kill the Moonlight," "Gimme Fiction" and the mainstream breakthrough "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga" - Spoon has another winner in "Transference" (Merge).
Though there isn't an uplifting breakout hit like "Ga's" "The Underdog" this time out, "Transference" is a far more potent work as a whole. As the first self-produced Spoon album, it reflects a more insular take on today's darker emotional times, with taut bass lines and jagged shards of guitar soothed by the repetition of the sound of Britt Daniel's voice - though not necessarily his sometimes disturbing lyrics - and in Jim Eno's drumming.
"Who Makes Your Money" comes across as the mix of trip-hop and rock that U2 was looking for on "No Line on the Horizon." The first single, "Written in Reverse," is a brash push-pull of angst and comfort, bouncing between piano jumble and classic rock guitar riffs. The closest Spoon gets to letting loose is the groove-dominated "The Mystery Zone."
But that's OK; Spoon handles tension very well, especially when it winds up masterfully on the stylish "Out Go the Lights," before unspooling into a moody outro that out-Joy Divisions the band Interpol.
Spoon chooses the stark and austere, turning inward and letting musical layers dissolve where most artists would have opted for a flashier turn. Yet, it's the simplicity of the melodies and rhythms on "Transference" that makes it all the more memorable.
Bottom line: Simply mining a rock groove well