Spoon Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

[Merge; 2007]

Rating: 4.5/5

Styles: indie rock, pop-rock, grown-dude rock
Others: Pretty much just Spoon

For me, there are two largely disparate thrills that recorded music can provide. The first is the excitement of hearing something new and fresh, a record or song that sounds different from what I’m used to and gets me excited about an artist’s ability to surprise. The second is the joy and satisfaction of witnessing a good band hit their stride and deliver consistently excellent albums.

For Austin, Texas’ Spoon, the only real knock is that, perhaps because of their uniform tightness, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga occasionally mirrors previous efforts. That, and the fact that after Britt Daniel and co. release the follow-up to Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, fans will have to pronounce its full title, rather than falling back on “the new Spoon record.” But make no mistake; Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga is Spoon’s finest release since 2001’s Girls Can Tell and fills me with a happiness rarely delivered by a genre filled with groups that never improve upon their debuts.

How does Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga sound? Well, it sounds like Spoon. “Don’t Make Me a Target” is the matter-of-fact opener (see: “The Beast and Dragon, Adored,” “Small Stakes,” “Everything Hits at Once”), and “The Ghost of You Lingers” is the “experimental” song (cf: “Stay Don’t Go”): a piano hammered insistently in high-register while Daniel’s echoey vocals ping-pong between channels. It's a little gimmicky but admittedly brave this deep into Spoon’s career.

Although the order of its tempo changes recalls previous albums (especially Gimme Fiction), it’s worth mentioning the perfected sequencing of Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. Ponder this: the album’s lead single, “The Underdog,” is buried as the record’s seventh track, but the album isn't boring before or afterward. As such, Spoon have addressed one of their few potential criticisms: each of their last three records burned through most of the strongest tunes in the first half. Although I’m not quite as crazy about “My Little Japanese Cigarette Case,” the triumphant finale “Black Like Me” and oddly stirring “Finer Feelings” ensure that Spoon’s latest LP is also possibly its most solid start to finish.

I was going to write another paragraph about how ideal this little record is for slicing through the stifling NYC humidity, but why bother? What a fucking good album.

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