Mussels. Chorizo. Polenta. Just reading those ingredients and you know the recipe featured on eating/sf today is hearty, flavorful and sooo satisfying. This recipe had an abundance of taste, spice and everything you want from a winter meal. This is one of my favorite new recipes we’ve prepared, so it seems fitting that I pair it with one of my favorite new albums: Spoon’s Transference. And this is a doubly appropriate pairing because it is as hearty and satisfying as this recipe. Transference finds Spoon getting looser with their melodic structures, more cerebral in their studio experimentation, but every bit as exacting in their music. This is one of those albums that I can confidently say will make my top ten list by year end.
Increasingly, with every album since Girls Can Tell Spoon has demonstrated that they like to challenge their listeners. No matter how much you loved their previous releases, each album sounds like a puzzle of sorts on first listen. On tracks like “Before Destruction” and “Is Love Forever” you’ll find abrupt melodic stops, stuttering instruments and woozy, abstract production. And if you are scratching your head, you just need to trust in the band’s vision enough to believe that if you keep listening it’ll make sense. They dig deep and increasingly abandon anything resembling verse-chorus-verse in favor of something more thoughtful, more rewarding. Indeed, its become progressively difficult to not feel like one of the most important aspects of song development for a Spoon song is the production. In fact, it is definitely worth noting that Britt Daniel and Brian Eno of Spoon produced the entire album by themselves. And there is no question they know their way around the studio: album’s like Transference are the reason people want to build hi-fi systems and purchase good headphones. Which isn’t to say you can’t enjoy their music without expensive gear, but if you’ve only heard this record with a pair of crappy laptop speakers – you haven’t really heard it.
Sure, songs like “The Mystery Zone,” “Who Makes Your Money,” “Written in Reverse,” and “Got Nuffin” all sound relatively straight-forward, but they come into full bloom when you let your mind steep in the richness of their composition and instrumentation. Like with many other things in life, it’s the little touches that make the greatest difference. And if it a nuanced complex album, that only makes sense. After all, Transference is about the nooks and crannies, the good and the bad, of love (in fact the word “love” appears in the lyrics of every song but “Trouble Comes Running” and “Nobody Gets Me But You”) – a subject matter that is anything but simple and straight forward. Go pick up a copy of this one at your local record store. After all, as Spoon notes in the liner notes: “Buying records in record stores is cool.”
You can read the recipe for this delicious recipe back at eating/sf.