Ga ga for ‘Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga’

Spoon takes a safer sound than ‘Gimme Fiction’ but yields equally as rewarding results

by Haily Gostas

Is there any sweeter sound than a good band hitting an even better stride?

Next to the excitement of unexpectedly tuning into something fresh and innovative – an artist’s initial ability to really, truly surprise – there’s no better source of musical pleasure, especially in that cold, fleeting indie-rock genre where bands never seem to improve much upon their debuts (cough, cough … see above).


ALBUM: Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
LABEL: Merge Records

“Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga” (yes, all five) is the sixth album from Austin rockers Spoon, and it sounds like Ö well, Spoon. By now they have that same brand of stoic, structured sound layering and honest, everyman storytelling down pat, and this outing very obviously reflects the others.

But how can it be considered boring or formulaic when it still sounds so damn good? “Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga” is a solid album of patchwork luster from start to finish (especially considering that Spoon tends to sweep out their best tracks pretty early on).

Here you have the old standbys, those slick power-pop classics like opener “Don’t Make Me A Target,” or “Don’t You Evah’s” handclap-splattered groove, but there are bits of ambitious, artful tendencies as well: “The Ghost Of You Lingers” adds horns and a plunking keyboard riff so rapid and panicky it sounds like a jarring crash of horror-movie strings, while leader Britt Daniel achingly, hoarsely howls and yelps of lost love.

Sadly, it’s then done in a 10-song flash of 36 minutes total, a stark contrast from 2005’s more experimental “Gimme Fiction” and its literary lengthiness. But “Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga” is nevertheless an album of familiar fine detail, of Spoon re-mastering that perfect in-between of unexpected studio experimentation and catchy pop appeal. It’s something that’s memorable even though it bounces back and forth and wanders far and wide, resulting in a style still wonderfully singular and theirs alone.