Listen Up: Wednesday, August 22, 2007
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A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Spoon

Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
(Merge Records)

By Joshua Loewen

Britt Daniel has a broken heart. His band Spoon’s lengthy catalog of masterfully crafted pop-rock songs are proof that the man at the helm has been burned a time or two. Thankfully for his fans and listeners, the kid isn’t hung up on his romantic failures, just his tunes.
Known for obsessive and introspective behavior, the Spoon frontman has the enviably innate ability to create brilliant vocal melodies surrounded by obtuse yet precisely constructed rock ’n’ roll. The band’s new album, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, is no exception.
The album opener, “Don’t Make Me a Target,” is a mouthful of angst aimed at Dubya but sounds more like a meandering, piano-based space-rock tune than your typical punk-’tude-infused protest song. “The Ghost of You Lingers” is next, and it offers a clear message of lost love and regret via a haunting vocal treatment — lyrics fly in and out from all directions at varying speeds, almost capturing the sensation of looking back remorsefully on a past relationship. The record’s first single, “The Underdog,” is a catchy indictment of an ex-lover or -friend, replete with a rousing drum beat and hand claps, a full horn section, and a mantra, “You’ve got no fear of the underdog / That’s why you will not survive,” a sentiment that anyone can get behind. The album also serves up some world-music flavors, including a Clash-style reggae feel on “Eddie’s Raga” and a touch of Asian rock on “My Little Japanese Cigarette Case,” yet another song about Daniel’s unluckiness in love.
Like the rest of Spoon’s catalog, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (named after the sound created by a drum machine on one of the album’s early demos) is uplifting, heartbreaking, and even funny in places, often at the same time. Recorded at Public Hi-Fi, the band’s home studio in Austin, the new album is hard to categorize, much like the band itself, a project that for years was essentially just Daniel and drummer Jim Eno. Now that they have finally begun receiving some mainstream attention, chiefly by lending their unique songs to films (Stranger Than Fiction, Waiting), the biggest thing to come out of Austin in years just might bring some credibility back to the capital.


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