Spoon: Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

By: Chris Pacifico

It's now official: Spoon is huge. Sure, it took them thirteen years and six albums to pull it off but that in no way implies any of their previous work was less than stellar. With Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (Merge), Austin's new favorite sons still retain their pop nihilist ethos - the songs are indeed pop-ish - but all filler has been trimmed and seldom does a track go past the three and a half minute mark.

Their skeletal songs, sung in the crotchety voice of singer-guitarist Britt Daniel, have almost always had no pep but are catchy enough to warm up icy bottomless pits that are a music critic's hearts, not to mention highly opinionated fans. With its sly melodies and hooks, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga can be serve as a sort of Pepsi challenge to your friends that have never heard Spoon before. Play them just ten minutes of the album and if they aren't sucked in then they're probably the type of person that wouldn't come to the aid of a helpless, injured pedestrian on the side of the road. It's a pretty safe assumption that those who didn't at least try to catch Spoon's set at Bonnaroo this year committed a major party foul.

Eric Harvey's frugal piano and the overall rickety rhythms give Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga a skeletal axis around the Rolling Stones' Between the Buttons and Pavement's Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain but with more murky jangles.

Producer Mick McCarthy did an exquisite job of etching out the fortified sound on "You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb," while "Don't You Evah" flows with the hip sashay of an early Henry Mancini track. "Eddie's Raga" sneaks in a tad of Merseybeat, while "The Underdog" is an utterly flawless, head-bobbing infusion of cha cha horns. You'll hear a lot of buzz about a lot of bands and a lot of albums in 2007 but Spoon's latest is a canny pop showpiece to go gaga over.

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[Published on: 7/14/07]

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Comments

D14 Mon 7/16/2007 01:09PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

D14

Ga is pretty good indeed. I'm not sure it's the band's best album, as I've read in some reviews, but better than most out there anyway. Gimme Fiction is still my favorite but some of their older stuff reminds me of some early Nirvana in spurts. Regardless, this band is the goods!

mkgee starstarstarstarstar Mon 7/16/2007 05:08PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Great review. I pretty much totally agree. Spoon might easily be the best studio band out there right now. They just make it sound so easy (a la Steely Dan). Spoon is for the people... BELIE-DAT!

MaseBase starstarstarstarstar Tue 7/17/2007 04:53PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

MaseBase

I really dig this album and this band... it's about time people are starting to see!

kirkbrew starstar Wed 7/18/2007 04:51PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

kirkbrew

Actually, one song on this album (The Underdog) was produced by Jon Brion. Do your homework Pacifico. Then again, what can you expect? Over half of this review addresses topics other than the album (Pepsi challenge? Come to the aid of the helpless?). WTF???

This is an album of pretty good songs which follow the Brit-formula that were ruined by production. Songs like The Ghost of You Lingers, Eddie’s Reggae, Finer Feelings, Japanese Cigarette Case and Don’t You Eva suffer from an excessive amount of inorganic reverb. You can’t help but think that they paid top dollar for an AKG reverb chamber and felt forced to use it on every song (except for the only well produced track – The Underdog). Rhythm & Soul sounds too much like Two Sides/Monsieur Valentine and they bounce the guitar track all over the stereo field. Black Like Me finished off with a piano cord and room noise - sort of a poorly done Day In the Life meets John Cage's 4m33s.

Gimme Fiction and A Series of Sneaks are better albums. Both with MUCH better production. Hopefully, the songs from GaGa come off better live.

treetops78 starstarstarstarstar Fri 7/20/2007 01:43PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

treetops78

kirkbrew said "Gimme Fiction and A Series of Sneaks are better albums. Both with MUCH better production."

after reading a bunch of reviews about this album it seems there are divided Spoon fans and right along the same album lines. people that favor the new album (ga ga ga ga ga) also seem to mention girls can tell as a favorite and put gimme fiction on the bottom of their list. then fans with the exact opposite view point.

I myself am Ga Ga for ga ga ga ga ga AND loved Gimme Fiction (the album that hooked me on the band). I think The Underdog reminds me of Billy Joel punk rock. the line "Youve got no fear of the underdog. that's why you will not survive..." is pure truth.

Have a great weekend Jambase
JJ