REVIEW: Spoon – “Hot Thoughts”
by Chad Jewett
With each new Spoon single comes the opportunity to see what novel deconstruction the Austin quintet have cooked up this time around. With “You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb” and “The Underdog” the band made papier-mâché pop songs out of the raw materials of “Lola”-era Kinks, Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound, and golden era Motown. “Written In Reverse” offered post-punk, severely whittled. “Rent I Pay” was Mod rock bathed in fuzz and stuffed with Stax organs. And now we have “Hot Thoughts”, the titular single from the lauded indie band’s upcoming 9th album. Some of it is familiar: that snaking guitar line has been around in some form or other since Kill The Moonlight; that glimmering snowfall of bells is just the kind of studio filigree that Britt Daniel and Jim Eno adore.
But the real interest of “Hot Thoughts” is the new stuff – the vocal manipulations that bend and warp Daniel’s raspy tenor, the increased attention to groove (an expansion of the danceable moments to be found on 2005’s high-water mark, Gimme Fiction). And then there’s that outro, where the whole maximalist dance track slams to a halt, leaving just Daniel’s melody and a synthesizer fog that you may have missed, but which was there all along. The song eventually builds back up into its previous density – gone is both the more somber stateliness of They Want My Soul and the addition-through-subtraction minimalism of Transference – again recalling the multi-sectional compositions of Gimme Fiction. At this point, Spoon knows exactly how to sound like Spoon. But luckily they also know how to find surprising ways of doing so.