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Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

Spoon, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

Review by Richard Goodwin

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

SPOON return with a quality follow up to 2005’s indie pop gem Gimme Fiction.

It’s a strange situation with Spoon – after five albums all increasing in quality why haven’t this band broken through to receive mainstream commercial success?

Is it because they’re named after the dullest piece of cutlery? Possibly. One thing is for certain, though, it’s not through any lack of quality tunes, which they seem to churn out in abundance.

From his early punky days, Britt Daniel has slowly evolved into a great pop songwriter. With each album he doesn’t so much reinvent as re-brand Spoon’s music through the tweaking of their basic formula. Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga is no exception.

Spoon’s stripped down, minimal approach remains but as with Gimme Fiction there are slight stylistic changes to preceding albums and the production is fleshed out for a fuller sounding palette.

The album kicks off with a pretty straightforward Spoon rocker in Don’t Make Me A Target, which takes a slightly more socially-conscious approach with Britt Daniel taking aim at the world’s leaders in the hope of not being blown up.

This social slant pops up again on the track Rhythm & Soul, here taking swipe at shallow consumerism. Both tracks have a Beatles feel to them and are two of the stronger tracks on show.

The album’s highlight is undoubtedly The Ghost Of You Lingers, a hypnotic track that’s both strange and unsettling. It employs build and release dynamics without ever quite releasing, resulting in a strange tension. Voices float in and out of the mix accompanied by keyboards and piano giving the track a minimal and ethereal feel.

Although the general mood of the album is less dark than previous Spoon albums there are still touches of darkness to be found Eddie’s Ragga being the best example.

This track lollops around on an odd rhythm punctuated with staccato guitar and ends on a dark keyboard motif.

Finer Feelings is also a dark little number beginning with a burst of sampled applause and crowd banter and is an atmospheric track but less effective then Eddie’s Ragga.

It’s with the album’s lighter moments that problems arise. Both You Got Yr Cherry Bomb and The Underdog seem slight in comparison to the rest of the album and feel out of place here.

Both have a Motown feel complete with horns and both feel like they aren’t quite finished, as if the band didn’t quite know where to go with this new direction.

The album finishes on a strong note, however, with Black Like Me, the nearest thing on the album to a ballad and a sad and heartfelt song.

All of Spoon’s main strengths remain intact with the minimal yet meticulous production at the fore. All the little flourishes sound like they’re in the right place and enhance each track perfectly.

What’s more, Britt Daniels’ songwriting is on top form throughout most of the record. His understanding of dynamics remains undimished and he uses the old John Lennon trick of having melodies with shifting chords underneath to great effect.

Overall, this is another quality addition to the Spoon back catalogue, retaining all of their strengths while adding a slightly different presentation.

No great artistic statement maybe but a solid pop offering and this could finally see them achieve the success they most definitely deserve.

Download picks: Eddie’s Ragga, Rhythm & Soul, The Ghost Of You Lingers, Don’t Make Me A Target

Track listing:

  1. Don’t Make Me A Target
  2. Ghost Of You Lingers
  3. You Got Yr Cherry Bomb
  4. Don’t You Evah
  5. Rhythm And Soul
  6. Eddie’s Ragga
  7. Underdog
  8. My Little Japanese Cigarette Case
  9. Finer Feelings
  10. Black Like Me