I think it’s fair to say that Spoon have been one of the most reliable American rock bands in the last 20 years. While they released two great post-punk albums in the late 90s, their career in my mind truly began in 2001 with Girls Can Tell. From that point the Texas rock band started an upward climb with each record, adding to and improving on the band’s dusty Texan DNA.
The last few years the band has been filled out with a full-time bassist and two multi-instrumentalists while Britt Daniel and Jim Eno remain as the original core. The albums have gotten slicker and not as rough n ready as what came before, but there’s still greatness in the songs. On the band’s newest album, the back-to-basics Lucifer On The Sofa, Spoon gets back to taut, lean rock songs. The disco experiments and electronic heart beats set aside, this is their best album in over a decade.
The album opens with a cover of Smog’s “Held”, a Bill Callahan track that Spoon have been covering for nearly two decades. They give it the old Spoon treatment and make it their own. This leads right into the tough as nails “The Hardest Cut”. Britt Daniel has stated he revisited some classic ZZ Top albums over the pandemic and found inspiration in the band’s Texas masterpiece Tres Hombres. The heavy groove and chugging riff bring to mind classic albums like Kill The Moonlight and Gimme Fiction. “The Devil & Mr. Jones” finds a soulful pocket of groove rock that’s part Style Council and part Rolling Stones.
The band land some serious pop rock grooves in tracks like “Wild”, “My Babe” , and “Feels Alright” while “On The Radio” waxes ecstatic about listening to the radio dial getting that rock and roll fix. As you’d expect, it’s catchy and pulls you right in. Title track and album closer “Lucifer On The Sofa” is a dreamy goodbye. A hazy song that slowly works its way into your brain.
From start to finish Lucifer On The Sofa is a welcome return to gritty, catchy and lean rock and roll from Spoon. Britt Daniel and company have made one of the first great rock records of the year.