The new Spoon album Hot Thoughts opens with the title track and first single off the album. It’s true to their sound, but still sounds new. The song starts out very simple and builds through the first minute, getting the listener hyped for the next nine songs.
Spoon hails from Austin, Texas and hit the scene in the early 90’s as indie rock was gaining traction in the music world. Their first album, Telephono came out in 1996 and now over 20 years later, you can hear the same energy through Hot Thoughts, their ninth studio album from Matador Records. Spoon has been compared to the likes of Pavement and The Pixies, yet take on their own psychedelic indie rock sound.
The following nine songs each have their own distinct sound, each highlighting different instruments from synthesizers, in “Hot Thoughts” to xylophones and maracas, in “Pink Up”, to horns in “Up”. That being said, each song is monotonous in structure.
The second single is track six, “Can I Sit Next to You”. It has a groovy beat and simple lyrics. With simple rhyming verse structure and a funk vibe, this song is a good access point for listeners new to Spoon.
My favorite song comes in at track eight with “Tear It Down”, this is one of the tracks where the vocals take the wheel and guide the song over the instruments. While the song tells a story of missed opportunities and reasons two people are apart, the most powerful part is the chorus:
Let them build a wall
I don’t care I’m gonna tear it down
It’s just bricks and ill intentions
They don’t stand a chance
I’ll tear it down
These lyrics not only shape the story of the song but speak to a population grappling with division and unity. That defines one of the best elements of Hot Thoughts, the fact that it is contemporary without losing its roots.
“Shotgun”, the penultimate song, pulls from a place of desperation, the music masked in a tone of uneasiness. This is a wonderful follow up from “Tear It Down” whose sound is much more upbeat and sweet sounding.
The final track, “Us”, starts very empty with a single horn, and as it builds it becomes more discordant creating unease in the listener. Finally a coordinated and repeated horn section comes in; it almost reminds you of ship horns due to the repetitive nature. The beat doesn’t come in till minute four and only sticks around for 30 seconds. The album fades out on a somber note.