Photo Credit: Oliver Halfin
Few bands have mastered the art of still being exciting after 30 years together as a band without beginning to tread water. While there might be flashier, more original, and more forward-thinking groups, Spoon has remained a reliable source of swaggering, Southern-influenced blues-rock. 2007’s Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, featuring the hit single “The Underdog”, is their most critically acclaimed album so far, but with Lucifer on the Sofa – the group’s tenth studio album – the band has once again released an album beloved by both critics and fans.
Britt Daniels, frontman and songwriter, has an almost conservative approach to making music. In an interview with Louder Sound Magazine, he’s talking about how he’s been drawing inspiration from classic rock bands like the Who, about how many tacos he’s eating in his free time, and how he became nostalgic while watching the Beatles composing music in the analog world where only toast and marmalade could distract them from creating wonders in the Get Back documentary. All of these factors are reflected in their music. While some might count them off as “dad rockers,” Spoon never sounds tired or repetitive.
The A-side is as inspired as any great piece of rock music. The stomping “The Hardest Cut” has a dusty Black Keys groove over it and sounds more than ready for the big venues. While the use of ‘60s-fashioned R&B-brass in “The Devil & Mr. Jones” is exactly the kind of material that gives these records an essential dose of warm, spirited soul.
Then there is “Wild”, co-written by no other than Jack Antonoff. No wonder it’s the catchiest song on the album! Britt’s snarling vocal delivery and the piano lines almost resemble what it would have sounded like if Oasis would be Texas natives. It floats seamlessly into “My Babe” – a song for Spoon that has a relatively rare theme that seems to have surprised even Britt Daniels himself with its warm, caring lyrics about appreciating long-lasting, genuine love.
Another stand-out track is hidden on the second side, just when you started to feel that the finest material had all been loaded at the front. “On the Radio” opens with synthesizers and piano before a fuzzed-out bass introduces one of the hardest-rocking songs on the album – a song that grows increasingly intense as Daniel’s rather unflamboyant (“It’s not tragic // It’s like magic”) reflects over Spoon’s position as a band in a changing world.
And where is that, then? Well, Lucifer on the Sofa indeed offers nothing new. We have heard it all before, for sure, but if we liked it back then – why wouldn’t we like it now? Lucifer on the Sofa is filled with enough great tunes and enough radio-friendly hooks – and this is not only because of Jack Antonoff – to make us return over and over again as we’re discovering new favorites every time. AM rock you say? Well, Spoon makes it slay.