Knitting Factory Presents
Spoon, White Reaper
Hot Thoughts, Spoon’s 9th album, is the bravest, most sonically inventive work of their career, though keep in mind, Britt Daniel has already overseen a number of other reincarnations. With all due respect to earlier efforts that have made the band both critically acclaimed and a commercial contender, preconceptions about Spoon are about to be obliterated. That’s not to say Hot Thoughts doesn’t have a requisite supply of infectious earworms — WE DIDN'T SAY THIS WAS A DIFFERENT BAND (though this is the first Spoon album with no acoustic guitar) — but there’s a lyrical bent that’s as carnal as it’s crafty, and a newfound sense of sonic exploration that results in the genre-smasher Spoon have flirted with in the past but not fully consummated.
The ten songs on Hot Thoughts run the gamut from the kaleidoscopic opening title track (as tone-setting as say, “Dirty Mind” for the album it commences) through the gargantuan stomp of “Do I Have To Talk You Into It” and ubiquitous wiry hooks of “Can I Sit Next To You" to the bittersweetness of “I Ain’t The One” and the deadpan swing of “Tear It Down” — less the telling of an apocalyptic vision and more what Daniel describes as a song about “empathy for strangers.”
Ample recognition should be tossed in the direction of Dave Fridmann, whose wizard-level ingenuity has brought a diabolical sheen to the band’s swagger (there may be many great ways to occupy one’s time in Cassadaga, New York, but we do know that holing up at Fridmann’s studio to make a masterpiece is one of them).
Without question, the prior works of Daniel, drummer Jim Eno, bassist Rob Pope and no-longer-a-secret weapon Alex Fischel have scaled some lofty heights (from 1996 debut LP Telephono, 1998’s A Series Of Sneaks, 2001’s Girls Can Tell, 2002’s Kill The Moonlight, 2005’s recently reissued in deluxe 10th anniversary grandeur Gimme Fiction, through the trifecta of U.S. Top 10 albums that was Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (2007), Transference (2010) and They Want My Soul (2014), you’re talking about a winning streak that’s nothing short of Mayweather-esque), but Hot Thoughts is a daring, futuristic chapter in the Spoon story. Daniel’s spot in the pantheon of rock's genius songwriters was established long ago—but with the crackling, incandescent, multi-dimensional backdrop conjured on Hot Thoughts, the lines between accessible and experimental become non-factors for once and all. It’s pop as high art, delivered with total confidence and focus.
The World’s Best American Band.
The bold statement from Louisville’s White Reaper is not only the title of their new album, but also the band’s credo.
“Because we are the best,” says guitarist/vocalist Tony Esposito. “Just like Muhammad Ali was the greatest, you gotta say it out loud for people to believe it."
And with that mentality the band hit the studio with close friend and producer Kevin Ratterman (My Morning Jacket, Young Widows) and made a good ol' fashioned in-your-face rock ’n’ roll record.
“We didn’t make this record or start this band because we wanted to come across in a single, certain way," says Esposito. “We just make records that we'd want to hear. We started doing this because it's fun as hell, just as much now as it was when we were 14."
Boasting textured melodies, layered guitars and more seasoned lyrics, The World’s Best American Band finds the quartet busting out of the basement sound established on their previous full length (2015’s White Reaper Does It Again) and setting their sights on the arena.
Garnished with glimpses of the golden age of rock and roll, TWBAB is loaded with guitars that scream and gigantic drums in lockstep rhythm, each song packing its own massive, but none the less unique, punch. Lead single “Judy French” struts like a runway model raised on Heavy Metal Parking Lot, while midway point “The Stack” pairs a classic rock shimmy with a flair for glam.
The Kentucky boys eagerly await hitting the road in 2017. Armed with a record that celebrates rock in all of its glory, they are poised to satisfy crowds whether they are packed shoulder-to-shoulder in the "standing room only" pit or kicking back in the cheap seats.
“Come to the show, have a drink, have fun,” laughs Esposito. “But be nice to everybody, cause you're gonna get real close."