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Spoon absorb the spirit of ZZ Top on the lively Lucifer On The Sofa

Arch art-rockers Spoon have come to realise that the devil has all the best tunes

Spoon: Lucifer On The Sofa cover art
(Image: © Matador)

Having relocated to Austin, Texas, their home town, and binged on ZZ Top, Spoon re-embrace the whip and crackle of unvarnished guitar rock on this sprightly tenth album. On 2017’s Hot Thoughts they veered into Prince-like, synth-guided pop-funk, and that wasn’t unsexy. 

This latest album feels like a positive U-turn, however. It’s crisp and candid, evoking the rubicund clarity of early Pretenders or Cheap Trick, with a dash of semi-forgotten 00s San Diego post-punkers Louis XIV. 

Its adrenalin surge is the sound of guys shedding years, channeling the rush they felt as young players sparking off what their amps emitted. Singer Britt Daniel still knows less is more, though, and the tracks are lean and pared, every stab counting. 

A cover of Smog’s Held blasts fresh air into its bittersweet blues, while no-frills thrillers like My Babe and On The Radio seize the spirit of beatnik lust. Ladles of life are here.

Chris Roberts has written about music, films, and art for innumerable outlets. His new book The Velvet Underground is out April 4. He has also published books on Lou Reed, Elton John, the Gothic arts, Talk Talk, Kate Moss, Scarlett Johansson, Abba, Tom Jones and others. Among his interviewees over the years have been David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, Bryan Ferry, Al Green, Tom Waits & Lou Reed. Born in North Wales, he lives in London.