Transference seems to have been causing more than a few Spoon fans some trouble; Derek Miller can’t deal with it. I can almost understand why; it’s a pretty indefatigable way to harsh the considerable buzz that was Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, the giant alien ripping the shit out of New York after the awesome trendy loft party full of beautiful people dancing to “The Underdog”. It’s a slow hangover of a record. The production choices, this time made purely by Spoon, for Spoon, as opposed to made by Mike McCarthy, for Spoon, are sometimes pretty strange; a lot of it sounds like a demo. Because much of it is. Mind you, chunks of Girls Can Tell sounds like that. Girls Can Tell gets a free pass by having plenty of hooks and choons though. The kick drum that starts up the wheezing organs and drones of “Before Destruction” takes about six hits to find its bottom-end, and then loses it all again as soon as Britt, in another room, standing away from the mic, enters the fray. Then it comes back into focus. Or not focus; it was in focus anyway, just on the edge of the frame, and now it zooms in. Except it’s not a zoom; Spoon work in prime lenses – you have to physically walk closer to see things larger, and retreat to get the wide-angle view. This is OK. There’s something in those whirring organs, in the humming, mumbling voices underneath them, that makes me yearn, makes my chest tighten up a little and makes me shift my eyes into the middle distance.
The odd little production flourishes continue; Britt’s voice moves around. Jim’s drums sound like… actually I don’t know. Guitars are little rough raw apparatuses that scratch the paintwork on your car, that echo oddly. Some songs change an awful lot, a succession of avenues and alleys and corridors, and some barely change at all; “The Mystery Zone”. “Who Makes Your Money” is, I think it was Matos who said, like a piece of minimal techno, or something. Certainly not like a “rock” song. Mathers said “didn’t they used to have choruses that were more than just the title repeated three times?” and, yes, they did, but they also never did. “Written In Reverse” has some angry shouting, almost a holler or a scream or a squeal. “Goodnight Laura” is just piano and voice, not spooky like when they did that on the last record, but really… genuinely intimate, and caring. The kind of song that makes me assume the author is a father, and that the eponymous object is his daughter. Don’t think Britt is though.
Just seen a tweet that Spoon are (not ‘is’, never ‘is’) playing a gig in a parking lot this afternoon (it’s evening where I am, but you get me). ‘Cats allowed only on leashes”. We put a leash on Bob once; he didn’t like it. I don’t think Spoon liked the leash they nearly put on themselves with Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. I don’t go to parties much these days, but I used to. Every party has a hangover. I fucking hate them these days, but… sometimes you have a great hangover. One you don’t mind, one that swirls, and confuses, and bends time, one with nothing to do today or even tomorrow and probably not on Monday either. That’s what Transference seems like to me, right now.