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Spoon Kill The Moonlight Review

Album. Released 20 August 2002.  

BBC Review

The mood of Kill The Moonlight is essentially laid back yet the pace is frenetic -...

Daniel Pike 2002

Formed in 1996, Spoon have been spending their time carving out a niche in the same underground rock scene as At The Drive In and ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead. You haven't heard of them? Well, Spoon are less rock and have proved, much to singer-songwriter Britt Daniels' frustration, decidedly more underground than their more famous and less succinctly named fellow Texans.

And yes, that's Texas as in Austin, "down here we like both types of music, country AND western", Texas. So, all things considered, it is perhaps surprising to find Spoon have crafted an album that sounds so terribly, terribly British.

This, like previous releases, is a distinctly lo-fi post-punk offering. Elvis Costello (Daniels is an ardent admirer) appears the most dominant influence. His shadow is most evident on "Someone Something" and stand-out track "Jonathon Fisk". The latter crunches through vengeful memories of playground bullying, religion and right-wing politics with "atom bombs and blunt razors" thrown in for good measure. All the stuff of classic Costello.

There are shades of Tim Burgess falsetto on "Something To Look Forward To" and "Stay Don't Go". The Piano driven "The Way We Get By" is a touch sprightly Badly Drawn Boy and even Britt Daniels' vocal inflections seem affectedly British on opening track "Small Stakes".

"Stay Don't Go" features human beat box which, despite sounding vaguely Rolf Harris, reveals a desire to split from the classic rock mould. There is an air of tenderness and sincerity about the record, reflected in the sentiment "I will be there when you turn out the light" on "Paper Tiger". There's also sufficient angst in tracks such as "All The Pretty Girls Go To The City" to satisfy the indie audience's traditional demand for woe. A total reliance on fuzzed rhythm guitar is averted by recourse to keys and samplers. All of this marks a departure for Spoon and distinguishes this LP from the efforts of other US White Strokes indie rock outfits.

The mood of Kill The Moonlight is essentially laid back yet the pace is frenetic - twelve tracks in just thirty-four minutes. The loops and riffs are crude and chunky, as indeed they should be. Songs are constructed around a strong, coherent melodic core. The only real anti-climax is the fact that it is all over way too soon.

This band has suffered their fair share of bad luck in the past; they were dropped by their previous label after only four months for example, but with Kill The Moonlight, they have produced an album that really should bring them the success they deserve. Spoon might at times sound jolly British but they are frightfully good at it. Charmed I'm sure.

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