A Pop Gem From an Indie Rock Band
Spoon return with Hot Thoughts, hands down their most pop and experimental album to date. The record is drenched in upbeat electronica, staccato guitar and lead singer Britt Daniel’s vocals, which are reminiscent of Paul McCartney.
Austin-based band Spoon have been a fixture in the indie rock scene since 1993, releasing their debut album Telephono in 1996. During their time as a band, listeners have heard the evolution of their sound, as they continue to experiment on each subsequent album. Hot Thoughts is one example of this evolution. With heavy pop influences, this record proves to be a glorious expedition for both Spoon and the listener.
The first track, “Hot Thoughts,” serves as a perfect introduction to the record. It contains traces of other artists like LCD Soundsystem. In particular, the way that Daniel enunciates each word is reminiscent of “One Touch” from LCD. Playing behind those vocals are catchy guitar riffs, intermittent clapping and the pings of a xylophone. The most confusing song to say or spell on the album is “WhisperI’lllistentohearit.” Its opening sounds like the intro to a television news station. The urgency and earnestness make it seem as if this track will be a “serious” listen. However, after almost two minutes, the song’s tempo increases, causing it to become a wonderfully giddy and danceable tune. The most familiar-sounding song is “First Caress.” Despite the random piano that appears throughout, this track sounds the most like Spoon circa Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. “Tear it Down” channels some serious Beatles, while “Shotgun” makes a return to LCD with its long, disparate instrumentals. The album closes out with the saxophone-heavy and lyric-free “Us.” On an album filled with so many lyrics and varying sounds, “Us” is a perfect closer. Just when the listener thinks that Spoon could not have packed any more genres into a record, they decide to throw in a jazzy and otherworldly track. One part Sun-Ra and one part Kraftwerk, Spoon fuse them together and make it their own.
Even with so many genres and homages to other artists and bands, Spoon still manage to create an album that is undeniably them. There are hints of LCD Soundsystem, The Beatles, Sun-Ra and others that are too many to list, but the one thing that makes Hot Thoughts is the twist that Spoon put on each one of these influences. They have taken tried-and-true sounds and made them their own, while still pushing the boundaries of their sound as well as the genre.