GMG - Las Vegas Weekly

2017-03-16 - Las Vegas Weekly

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To release ninth studio album Hot Thoughts, indie-rock shape-shifters Spoon returned to Matador Records, the label that released the band's very first LP, 1996's Telephono. Things are quite different for the Austin group these days: Frontman Britt Daniel and drummer Jim Eno are the only lineup holdovers from two decades ago, and Hot Thoughts bears little resemblance not just to Spoon's previous album, 2014's They Want My Soul, but to the rest of its catalog. Electronic elements are more prominent than ever, from the throbbing rhythmic loops of "First Caress" to the title track, a piece of sizzling, clipped synth-pop. The record- closing "Us" is even more radical: A lonely, wailing saxophone anchors an abstract instrumental with Brian Eno-like percussion chimes and ambient textures. While "Us" is intriguing, those sorts of amorphous electronic ar- rangements sink other parts of Hot Thoughts, with songs feeling unfocused as a result. The record sounds far better when Spoon grounds its experiments and plays structured, taut rock 'n' roll. The anxious, '90s-inspired electronica of "WhisperI'lllistentohearit" gives way to jagged electric guitars, and "Shotgun" is an atmospheric, disco-punk standout. –Annie Zaleski The prevailing word on the synth-pop kings' 14th studio album is that it's po- litical. Spirit—produced by James Ford of electronic act Simian Mobile Disco— might reference the disillusionment and discord of the times (albeit with Muse-level vagueness), but songwriters and vocalists Martin L. Gore and Dave Gahan are more interested in the psy- chological toll. A song like "Cover Me"— imagine 1990 masterwork Violator infused with Kraftwerkian grandeur—reminds us that we might escape the planet's problems, but you won't escape ours. And so goes most of the album: From hook-less single "Where's the Revolution" to the torchy "The Worst Crime" (both arch but clunky indictments of our apathetic society), Spirit adopts Ghandi's "Be the change you want to see in the world" and sets it to industrial Gothic blues. Sadly, little of it sticks, Depeche Mode concentrating so much on the album's themes and instrumental nuance that its tunefulness and drive suffers. Aside from some swinging, vampy moments on "Going Backwards" and "Poison Heart," the pulsating "So Much Love" is the lone standout. For an album seeking to ignite something within its listener, it possesses little spark. –Mike Prevatt 62 WEEKLY | 03.16.17 N O I S E DEpEchE MODE Spirit aabcc SpOON Hot tHougHtS aaabc Sound judgment Dr. Paul Lanfranchi Board Certifi ed Facial Plastic Surgeon "... BECAUSE SELFIES DON'T LIE." ™ Look 10+ Years Younger in Less Than 2 Hours. 8985 S Eastern Ave • Suite #120 • Las Vegas, Nevada 89123 • 702.929.3880 Located right next to LVAC www.TheLanfranchiCenter.com

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