Strangely, the narrative surrounding Spoon’s latest album is that Spoon never really has a narrative. The reality is that Spoon has never dealt in any of the trite rock band ups and downs. No public fights. No drug addiction. No bizarrely terrible albums. Spoon’s displayed a workmanlike string of quality for over two decades. Though others would maybe disagree, they’ve never really had a consensus masterpiece. Every fan has a personal favorite but I’d be hard-pressed to pick out a signature album. They Want My Soul probably isn’t that career-defining Spoon record music journalists want, but it’s still another fine addition to the band’s catalog.
Right out of the gate Spoon gives us “Rent I Pay,” a song that sounds familiar but a bit more energetic and urgent than most of Spoon’s older stuff. It sounds really big and They Want My Soul returns to this big, urgent sound on “Do You” and “They Want My Soul,” which stand out as my two favorites on the record. “Outlier” and “New York Kiss” are built around intense hooks that make the songs instantly memorable. The great lyricism seems like a cool bonus amid all the gorgeous guitar and drum work.
Initially I was dubious of “Inside Out,” the album’s second track. It seemed like a conscious effort to slow the album down after the energy of “Rent I Pay.” But that was silly. “Inside Out” is a perfect companion to “The Ghost of You Lingers,” another taut second track (from Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga) that seems to focus the album rather than depress it.
Spoon continues to be possibly the most consistent rock band around. But this consistency only applies to quality. Otherwise, this band continues to grow out in exciting, new ways, producing songs that can sit right alongside their old classics.