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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
Gimme Fiction
Merge Records

Rating: 8/10 ?


May 31, 2005
Spoon is a band that has always played the consistent role: release after release, their brand of indie rock matures and changes colors like any growing collective would experience, but it is the vision of lead man Britt Daniel that keeps the essence of the band present during each of the vital steps and lands Gimme Fiction on the green.

Coming off a three year layover, one might expect significant departures from the past or struggles with members presenting the best Spoon of the present. Neither of these happen, at least to any negative effect.

Through 11 tracks (plus four extra songs included on a bonus disc), there are several different emotional plateaus, points of creativity and unique stylistic executions that make this release a full-bodied one. Compositions are often based in three basic elements: trolling piano, simple yet appealing lyrics/vocal lines and the multi-instrumentalism knowhow of songwriter Daniel.

Nearly every song comes off as unassuming in its rightful place. Each track has a designed role, and for that reason you won't need to use the skip button - "The Beast and Dragon, Adored" is a energy-building intro song; "Sister Jack" a slightly distorted guitar and tambourine pop rocker; "I Summon You" an acoustic love song; and "I Turn the Camera On" a dance inducer.

At first I thought "I Turn My Camera On" felt out of place, or perhaps just a deferral to the permeation of the "dance-" prefix into the indie rock genre (a growingly cheap convention that has ruined the promise of many developing rock bands). During the song, Daniel busts out Jimmy Fallon "Idiot Boyfriend" falsetto pipes and rocks a slow funky party rouser. The closer you listen, the more you acknowledge all the additional details that are imparted into what seems to be very basic. There are background organs and keyboards, disruptive electronic noises, finger snaps, cymbal overdubs, the backing vocals of Eric Bachman; the song grows and diminishes in intensity with some semblance of a moving texture.

If you listen closer still, the words of Daniel during these detailed compositions become another focal point. At first the vocals catch you with their melody, and next with the intricacy in which they are performed to guitar parts. The personal, detailed touch comes in third to truly sell what Daniel is singing. Like on "Sister Jack", when he sings, "Always on the outside looking in/I was in this drop D metal band we called Requiem/And they'd say relax/But I can't be a man this far down on the map."

Few rock bands so freely admit the failures of their musical past, at least if it seems as if people might think it uncool. Spoon defines its own comfortable style and resultantly its own cool. Gimme Fiction helps to promote the idea, as it is a collection of songs that were made to fit well together - not a collection of the top 11 songs that were saved from the studio floor. The album reveals how you can be mature yet still enjoy frequent youthful tendencies and altogether be distinctive.

Reviewed by Josh Zanger
Joshua Ian Zanger, a native of rural Chicago, rocks many a world with his writing, style, and generally sweet aroma.

See other reviews by Josh Zanger

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