Spoon Keeps Hot Streak Alive With ‘Lucifer on the Sofa’ (ALBUM REVIEW)

Spoon is possibly the most consistent band of the last 30 years. They’ve released ten albums since 1996, with only 2010’s Transference registering as anything close to a dip. Their greatest albums, A Series of Sneaks, Kill the Moonlight, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga and They Want My Soul are spread out evenly amongst their only slightly less great companions. This would lead one to believe that Lucifer on the Sofa is due to become another tent pole, but would also lead someone to become very disappointed after listening to the first three songs here.

“Held” is a bluesy, setlist opener a ’la “Rent I Pay” and Divine Fits’ “Flaggin’ a Ride”; comparatively it’s a slower grower, but one that eventually earns its place as a lead-off. “The Hardest Cut”, a perfectly acceptable piece of modern radio fodder, sounds out of place for a band like Spoon, and “The Devil and Mr. Jones” feels like it could have been pulled right off Elvis Costello’s newest album, which isn’t exactly a compliment. These songs are good, but nevertheless, disappointments, and perhaps most aggravatingly, unnecessarily belittled by their sequencing. 

Lucifer on the Sofa is a very good Spoon album, one that borrows from They Want My Soul more than anything on Hot Thoughts, but none of that comes through until about 13 minutes in. That sequencing isolates the more straightforward rock tracks to limit their visceral appeal and doesn’t give the more cerebral highlights like “Astral Jacket” and the “Satellite” a chance to help out. The seven songs that follow “The Devil and Mr. Jones are great, each one seemingly better than the last before coming to a stunning close with the title track. This album could have easily become another classic from the band, but without the elevation those opening songs need, and the build-up that “Lucifer on the Sofa” deserves, it’ll remain just another notch in Spoon’s highly consistent streak. 

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2 Responses

  1. Thanks for the review. I’ve been a “weird kid” for awhile – I came in earnest around the release of GaGa, but in short order went backwards to GCT, then finally got to sneaks, telephono and the EPs before Transference had dropped. I mention all that to acknowledge I’m a late bloomer Weird Kid, but nonetheless I’m a solid Weird Kid. So, I agree with you about the choppy sequencing of blues to funk to drop D. It was choppy and unpleasant, particularly as Drop D banger moves to The Devil & Mr Jones. Of course, knowing Spoon would never overlook a sequence or firm up without extreme consideration, I acknowledge it’s intentional and part of the “pissed and on a mission” theme of those opening two tracks. – the quick rivets are part of that bounciness.

    All ten songs, for me, and most it seems, were non-duds. All chalked with hooks, emotions and mood changes. Spoons’s Held was absolutely stunning to me. My jaw dropped at the John Paul Jones-ish bass and flawless 2-guitar harmonies. Radiohead would probably be hard pressed to match it. Hardest Cut, albeit less jaw dropping than Held, builds on the Texas mood and the first noticeable sign of change is that alarming 2-3 sequence. As for Devil being disappointing….. to me it’s flawless and absolutely timeless classic funk rock n roll.

    I agree with the rest of your review, 🙂

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