Spoon Transference

Spoon Transference
After spending the last decade under producer Mike McCarthy's watchful eye, critically beloved Austin, TX foursome Spoon have stepped out from his shadow to take control of the boards. The result is a decidedly rawer album, a gritty and spacious collection of songs likely to be Spoon's most divisive yet. Transference finds the band largely eschewing the stylish studio sheen of 2007's Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, so fans looking for another pop gem like "The Way We Get By" or "The Underdog" might be disappointed this time around. In their place are the haunting organ whir of opener "Before Destruction," the weepy, echoed piano of "Goodnight Laura" and the deranged howl of singer Britt Daniel, as he outright batters the piano on first single "Written in Reverse." The beauty of Transference lies in its subtlety; the record's aggression and raw production are tempered perfectly by the band's spacious and restrained instrumentation, which make Transference less a vicious album than a vulnerable one. It's a fragile and compelling record, one that begs repeated listening in order to crack its ugly shell, then rewards it with a set of Spoon's prettiest songs to date. (Merge)