Listening to Spoon’s latest album, the superb, visceral Lucifer on the Sofa, there is a sense — as seems to happen every few Spoon records — of a band reaffirming its reason for being, of embracing that which has enabled its longevity.
In this case, it’s the sound of Britt Daniel and his bandmates falling in love anew with gathering in the same room and capturing what happens.
“The idea was let’s rely on that chemistry and what we can do as a group in a more human setting, and sort of the old way of making a record where you write songs, you play songs, you kind of hash them out ahead of time,” Daniel said during a recent conversation. “We went through 43 songs to get to the 10 that ended up being on this record, and I think because we had so many to choose from that it ended up being such a strong album.”
It’s difficult to argue with Daniel: Lucifer on the Sofa is full of punchy, irresistible songs, whether it’s the pounding “The Hardest Cut” or the nervy anthem “Wild” or the terse, tender “My Babe.” (Spoon will make its first North Texas appearance in three years Saturday at Fort Worth’s newly opened Tannahill’s Tavern and Music Hall.)
That Sofa is the once-again largely Austin-based rock band’s ninth album in a 20-year career is all the more gob smacking. American rock acts, broadly speaking, tend to decline in quality over a long enough timeline, not get better with each subsequent release.
“That was a big — like, ‘What is the reason why we’re gonna make it?’ on the record,” Daniel said. “It does get harder to find, I think because people get older; it becomes less fun to them, or they lose the drive or the spirit or something. But I don’t feel like I’ve gotten there yet. I feel like I have just as much fun with it — not every single day, but when it’s good, it’s really [expletive] good.”
Spoon’s sense of sonic adventure didn’t stop with recording Sofa. The band announced last month that fans would get a second, reimagined version of the album (“the anti-gravity companion,” as the band dubbed it), remixed in its entirety by English record producer and dub music pioneer Adrian Sherwood. Lucifer on the Moon arrives Nov. 4.
“It doesn’t always appeal to me, but if it’s in the right hands, it appeals to me,” Daniel said. “I have been on one side or another of a lot of remixes in my day. … When I started working with Adrian, my instructions were do whatever you want, just don’t do anything that you couldn’t do on tape. … What he does is an actual performance. … It’s so much more than just a typical remix to me. It’s a whole other thing.”
Still, at the core of it all, Daniel understands both how Spoon has arrived at this moment, and what will continue propelling the band forward.
“When I know that it’s all based on the words and the syllables and the melodies and the rhythm — if you can just make it work like that, then you’re gonna have a good song, a good sturdy song,” Daniel said. “And when you have a good sturdy song, it’s hard to go wrong with everything else.”
Spoon at Tannahill’s Tavern and Music Hall, Fort Worth. 8 p.m. Oct. 15. Tickets are $49.50.
Preston Jones is a North Texas freelance writer and regular contributor to KXT. Email him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter (@prestonjones). Our work is made possible by our generous, music-loving members. If you like how we lift up local music, consider becoming a KXT sustaining member right here.