It’s the first track off Spoon’s latest that gives lifelong fans hope for a resurrection of the band’s signature sound. Now, what that sound is can be debated, but to those who’ve been around since Telephono, or say Girls Can Tell, there’s no question. It’s a style that’s inimitable, and rightfully based on the twitching guitar and stretched out vocals of lead singer Britt Daniel, not to mention the poundingly melodic drumming of Jim Eno.
And that’s exactly what album opener “Rent I Pay” offers. It’s a terrific song, and sounds very much like Spoon at its best. Daniel pushes his vocals to the limit, pulling the lyrics from the murky bottom of his throat and sputtering them out with indie fervor. It’s quite lovely.
The rest of They Want My Soul then plays out in a match-up of old vs. new, as the band appealingly plucks at rhythms and stylings of their past recordings and meld them together with updated ideas that nicely modernize their sound. Sometimes it doesn’t work, like with the album’s title track, a song that feels as if Spoon didn’t want to try too hard with it. Instead, it’s a rehash of literally every song they’ve ever done, and it’s almost cheeky. There’s also “Let Me Be Mine”, another lackluster tune that doesn’t pack much effort.
“Outlier,” on the other hand, is a great build-up of a tune, and incorporates the kind of dark lit dance beat that makes you wanna solemnly shake it by yourself, no dance partner needed.
Another great one comes in the way “I Just Don’t Understand”, a cover of an old Ann-Margret hit – yes, THE Ann-Margret, ’60s sexpot from such films as Bye Bye Birdie and Viva Las Vegas – that was also once covered by The Beatles. It’s lush with spot-on piano, and Daniel comes off like a ’90s Brit rocker, maybe Liam Gallagher or Damon Albarn. Really fun song Spoon should definitely be proud of.
They Want My Soul is, surprisingly, Spoon’s first with a major label, Loma Vista Recordings. They’ve done their last five with Merge Records, all of which were indie groundbreakers in their own right. It’s nice to hear the band with a bit more polish and production, but I still consider the more gritty work from Kill the Moonlight and Gimme Fiction to be Spoon at their prime. We’ll see where this step away from their indie-based roots will take them.
Check out this week’s playlist to hear “Knock Knock Knock” from Spoon’s newest.