You could never accuse Spoon of chasing trends or flashing in the pan. The Austin rockers have evolved subtly and deliberately over the last three decades, venturing in a straight line through the heart of Southern fried rock 'n' roll swagger since 1996's Telephono, growing slowly but surely in a laidback, self-assured manner befitting their trademark tousled nonchalance. In any given decade, an artist may rise and fall, but that's how long it took for the seeds of Spoon's psychedelia, planted on 2007's Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, to fully bloom as they did on 2017's Hot Thoughts.
Spoon continue to deal in gradual changes on Lucifer on the Sofa, their 10th album.
Spoon's upward trajectory to indie rock stardom is as well documented as it is well deserved. From the energetic, spiky attitude on the Austin rockers' debut album, Telephono, in 1996 to the more sophisticated atmospheric rock on 2017's Hot Thoughts, the band's consistency of constructing tight rhythms and sumptuous guitar licks into near flawless indie rock tunes is unmatched. Their willingness to push the envelope and explore new directions in song structure, while experimenting with sound effects and mixing subtle production schemes with their pop sensibilities, has enabled Spoon to lay down nine unique studio albums, with a few strong hits along the way, and a collective body of work that set the expectation bar higher with each release.
In considering the 10th studio album by Spoon, we take a moment to appreciate what kind of an underappreciated milestone that represents. Among bands that can be considered part of the first- or second-generation American indie rock cohort, there are plenty of heroes (Pavement, Modest Mouse, the White Stripes, Death Cab for Cutie) who either couldn't keep it together long enough or have seen their output slowed
to a crawl. Lucifer on the Sofa finds Spoon joining the double-digit club (waddup Sonic Youth, Sleater-Kinney, Guided by Voices, Flaming Lips) in full control of the distinct talents and trademarks that have become familiar on the nine previous LPs – this one distinctly more driving and aggressive than predecessor Hot Thoughts, where synths and atmosphere were the ruling order.
Having started their career almost 30 years ago, Spoon would be the first to admit that there's value in taking it back to basics. In the lead-up to their 10th album, Lucifer on the Sofa, frontman Britt Daniel made it clear that there's no formal or arbitrary concept to their latest rollicking effort—affirming that it's just good ol' rock n' roll like when they started as a pub band. And though that may be true, the Austin veterans are far too skilled and cunning to underplay themselves—even if their desire to workshop new material in small clubs gave them an added boost of confidence.
Lucifer On The Sofa by Spoon Spoon's reputation as one of the most critically acclaimed indie-rock bands of recent decades is something of an albatross. Can Britt Daniel continue to write songs the equal of those on their finest albums, such as 2001's Girls Can Tell, 2007's Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, or my personal favorite, 2010's Transference? Spoon's last two albums, 2014's They Want My Soul and 2017's synth-heavy Hot Thoughts, were decent enough, but the diversification of their instrumental palette and production methods suggested a band in search of fruitful new directions. Their tenth album, Lucifer on the Sofa, arrives on the back of pre-release buzz promising a return to a more guitar-oriented, rock'n'roll sound.