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.