When you listen to Transference by Spoon, the most accessible experimental indie band in business today, you might say, “Wow!” Of course, you might also say, “This will be a great album when they finish it.” Transference has all the elements you expect: Urgent vocals, metaphysical and/or obtuse lyrics, a driving, pulsating beat, tight musicianship, distortion . . . And yet it’s very different from what they’ve done before. There’s no question that Spoon can craft perfect pop songs, but here songs suddenly stop or break left, suddenly and without warning. It reminds me a lot of the way The Beatles, on Abbey Road, used hypnotic rhythm as a way to lull the listener into a trance before jarring the composition with either complete silence or an extended jam. So it’s not that the collage style employed by Transference hasn’t been done before—but it certainly hasn’t been done this well in over thirty years. Unlike previous works, this is an album you have to listen to a few times before you’ll really “get” it. But please (please!) make the effort! It’s almost as if Transference, which is guaranteed not to please casual listeners and is likely to drum up criticism, is a direct response to the band’s wonderful but highly mainstream Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. And lest you think the band has forgotten how to make pop songs, play “Out Go The Lights.” The extended bass jam could easily be mixed out to make this a beautiful single (not that it should be, just that it could be), and other tight songs like Got Nuffin’ show the band’s still got their old skills. They’ve just added some new ones. I can’t recommend this album enough. Here’s some live versions of songs off the new album, and some covers, to get you in the mood to go drop a few bucks on the CD or download.

Who Makes Your Money

Written In Reverse

Rocks Off (Stones cover)

A Good Flying Bird (GBV cover)

Peace Like a River (Paul Simon)

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