Exclaim!'s Best of 2014: Top 20 Pop & Rock Albums, Part One

18. Spoon
They Want My Soul
(Loma Vista)

Twenty years and eight LPs later, Spoon have proven themselves to be one of the most consistently sublime rock acts in recent memory, and They Want My Soul is just another fantastic notch in their belt. Instead of staying complacent with their prior sonic success, their latest album finds them exploring new textural ground without losing their way with experimentation.

There's hardly a track on the record that doesn't feature a new sound for the band — drum pads, flutes, barbershop-style backup vocals, whistling, classical Spanish guitar, harp — yet the barroom swagger of the troupe remains. Even when trying their hand at synth-washed psychedelia, as on "Inside Out," they make it sound effortless and immersive.

Even with all these new tricks up their sleeves, they're still the same old underdogs fighting tooth and nail for what they believe in, with their ethos distilled into the impeccably anthemic title track. Spoon still have their soul — and, if this album's any indication, they've got lots of it. (Matt Bobkin)