After five years of record label nightmares and mediocre albums, the Austin, Texas-based Spoon has landed on its feet. Now signed to indie mainstay Merge, the major label castoffs have secured their “indie cred” and released a damn fine album all in the span of a year.
Kill the Moonlight is meticulously crafted. Embracing the “less is more” philosophy of songwriting, Spoon strips their sound down to a minimal soundscape of sparse instrumentation, digital bleeps and wistful vocals. The minimalist “Stay Don’t Go” is a excellent example of the band’s foray into the ambient. The song is a highly constructed montage of mournful electric piano chords floating over a foundation of human beat box rhythms and offbeat guitar licks.
Don’t worry, Spoon didn’t forget how to rock – there’s enough piano-and-guitar driven songs to keep you awake between the ambient melodies. The anthemic, “The Way We Get By” is the catchiest of these, proudly proclaiming the joys of delinquent living over moody piano chords.
While the members of Spoon are not nearly photogenic enough to compete with the popularity of the White Stripes or the Strokes, Kill the Moonlight’s solid songwriting and innovative production should carve them a niche among listeners.