Spoon, Telephono/Soft Effects EP

Spoon Telephono/Soft Effects EP

Back in ’96, Merge Records had enough common sense to give a precocious young band called Spoon a chance. Marking the 10-year anniversary of Spoon’s debut, Merge is now re-releasing Telephono, re-mastered and packaged with the Soft Effects EP (and, of course, they threw in a video for “Not Turning Off” to seal the deal). I would say the re-release sounds cut and clean without becoming overly produced. Having not heard the original, though, I really can’t tell you die-hard Spoon fans if it’s worth it to buy the re-release, if you already have the original. To me, buying re-releases feels like someone coming into my room and attempting to sell me a CD I already own, but who knows; maybe you’re so hardcore you need it. If anything, it’s at least nice that the good people at Merge Records were kind enough to include Soft Effects in the package.

More than just a catchy battle cry, Spoon is a progressive rock act, and one that’s actually good. If you’re into the whole indie-rock/alt/post-punk thing, you should try a “Spoonful.” Damn, this article practically writes itself… I’d heard of Spoon a while ago but was reluctant to listen to the hype. After taking an ear to this CD set, I’m eating my heart out with a…wait for it…”spoon.” Okay, okay, I’ll stop with the puns. Spoon reminds me of a lot of different indie/alt-rock acts, the most easily identifiable being the Pixies. Britt Daniels’s singing is very similar to that of Pixies front man Black Francis/Frank Black. Daniels sometimes has a recitative kind of talk-singing, while more often he displays a lush visceral croon — think The Toadies. The beats are solid, and the guitars belt out a great sound. A lot of the songs derive their personality from the play between the thick meaty walls of distortion and the high punchy clean guitars complementing each other, despite being set clearly apart.

To get a good idea of what Soft Effects is like, listen to “Waiting For the Kid to Come Out.” It’s a solid track with catchy lyrics and more bounce than my checkbook. For the best impression of Telephono, check out “Cvantez”, “The Government Darling”, and “Bury the Realistic.” I must say that, on the whole, I felt like the songs were all distinct and never ran together, which is something that can happen even on the best of albums. The rhythms on the album are infectious, the songwriting is a breath of fresh air, and the listening appeal is way up there. The band comes together like a finely woven silk jacket, which is definitely rare on debut albums.

I’ve had crack addictions that were less time consuming than the time I’ve spent with this CD set. So dole out the money and catch Spoon live, or even better, check out the re-release and EP if don’t already have them.

(Merge Records -- P.O. Box 1235, Chapel Hill, NC. 27514; http://www.mergerecords.com/; Spoon -- http://www.spoontheband.com)
BUY ME: Amazon

Review by . Review posted Wednesday, August 16th, 2006. Filed under Reviews.

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