Some people are of the mind that today’s indie rock is about as bland and safe as vanilla cross-stitching. Now, whilst that’s of a sweeping statement, as there are plenty of decent indie rock bands out there, like The War on Drugs, and Jagwar Ma, it is apparent that there are certainly not as many quality indie rock bands around these days. Most major indie bands sound basically the same. Wild Beasts = Glass Animals, The Drums = Foxygen. Fucking indistinguishable from each other. It’s pretty much just a circle jerk of the masses. Actually, fuck that, circle jerk is too kind a name, because at least someone’s having, or will have, a good time. And everyone’s favourites from Girls to Pavement have left us!
Well, at least that was the scenario about a year ago. Some of our old mates are making their way back out of the woodwork and ensuring that the genre doesn’t become a joke. Interpol recently released a new song that kicks utter ass, The National released an absolutely stellar record last year, and Blonde Redhead are still kicking around and look to be releasing something interesting soon. For those who peaked in 2005, break out your favourite Cut Off Your Hands t-shirt, because indie rock looks to be making a, dare I say it, comeback! Actually, fuck that cliche, indie rock never really went anywhere, it just got shit. But, with these bands releasing some good stuff, things at least look positive.
And then there’s this Spoon record. Now, Spoon aren’t exactly amateurs to the game, they’ve been around for over 20 years. But it wasn’t really till after The Strokes mania died down a little bit, that Spoon stepped up as temporary kings of that whole movement. They consistently released fucking awesome albums, packed with jousting, smart and tight songs. Well, they chucked a Strokes and went away for a little while, specifically four years. And they couldn’t have come back with anything better…’They Want My Soul’ is brilliance.
The album starts with ‘Rent I Pay’, which is as catchy as anything Britt Daniels has rasped out of his pipes. The song unfolds like a crumpled and forgotten fiver, crunchily and harnessed with an immediate flooding of happiness of how much you forgot you needed said fiver. Fuck! It really has been a long time between material from Spoon! And holy shit, am I glad that there’s new stuff!
The rest of the album is classic Spoon, shooting in a manner of incredible directions, all anchored by a sense of poise that only a band like Spoon can pull off. Listening to this album honestly makes me feel like Oliver Twist exploring Dicken’s England, a place crammed with a bunch hidden nooks and crannies that are crying out to be discovered, crowded with all sorts of whimsical characters and shit to do. “Knock Knock Knock” is a strung out strummer, like Beck being squeezed down a black hole. Meanwhile, there’s instant head shakers, songs like “Let Me Be Mine” and the title track, songs that just ring out with the pop sensibilities and morose joy that made indie rock an enjoyable genre to begin with.
This philosophy comes to its most obvious point in “Do You” and “New York Kiss”. These tracks that are completely encapsulated by Britt Daniel’s obvious pain, poured into his vocals like a fat kid drowning his ice cream when presented with a whole tub of chocolate sauce to himself. If Daniel’s solo voice wasn’t enough to create some sort of intimate connection, then the musical tendencies, which range from urgent percussion and synths to guitars with hurricane-levels of pulling force, will drag you in whether you want to or not.
Spoon are back, baby! And not only have they created an album that solidifies the band at being at the forefront of their game, even this late in their career, but it makes indie rock an exciting genre to be listening to again. It seemed for a long time that we’d be burying our heads in our copies of “In Rainbows” and “Turn On the Bright Lights” for a severely long time. Now, there’s an album that is able to be listened to from start to finish, and remain completely electrified by it.