Kill The Moonlight
poon really is the best quirky, American indie rock band, now that Pavement is gone and will likely never be heard from again. Their last album, Girls Can Tell, was surprising, with these amazing pop songs that weren’t intrusive and have yet to lose their appeal, even though they were so damn catchy. It really isn’t a big surprise that on Kill The Moonlight, their fourth album, the music is even more infectious and complex.
So far, Spoon has had both the typical and perfect indie rock career. Their first album, Telephono, came out on Matador (what more could you ask for with a debut?), which led them to a major label deal (even better...maybe). As with most rock bands who are not Aerosmith, Spoon’s major label debut (A Series of Sneaks) crashed and burned because it didn’t have the singles, even though it will likely always be hailed as their most essential record. Fast forward to a record deal with Merge, and the release of GCT, their most accessible and successful album to date. A better album than Kill The Moonlight could not be asked for to continue the band’s saga.
The first thing that makes this record so impressive is how Spoon has managed to push their musical range even further and incorporate so many more elements to their style. The first case of this can be heard in the opening notes of “Small Stakes”, the album’s opener. The pulse of a drum machine, the bounce of a tambourine and a hypnotizing synth back up Britt Daniel’s vocals, giving the song the haunting simplicity of Suicide. It’s simply the most exciting thing they have ever done. Check the human beatbox on “Stay Don’t Go”, as well. It sets the pace without even the slightest bit of cheese present.
Another factor that raises the level of excitement is the increasing level of musicianship and songwriting on the album. With each record, Daniel takes his skills up a notch and forces out some of the most playful lyrics that are complemented perfectly by memorable melodies and rousing use of instruments. Everything a band like The Cars did decades ago should be challenged with one listen to just about any Spoon album. “Oohs” and “Aahs” are used, but they really don’t need to be. “The Way We Get By” not only embeds its snappy chorus but does it with some really fucking cool lyrics like, “We get high in the back seats of cars/We break into mobile homes/We go to sleep to shake appeal”. Never mind that the song is driven by this wicked piece of bouncy piano playing.
Spoon is a dream come true. What else is there to say? If this isn’t a breakthrough album for them that takes them to the top of the heap, seeing them showered with money, women and limos, well, then the consumer and music fan is not doing their job.
Reviewed by: Cam Lindsay
Reviewed on: 2003-09-01