Britt Daniel's Marvelous Mystery Zone: Spoon, Transference

Transference, off-kilter cult crooners Spoon’s seventh effort is, following in the 2010 trend of difficult to digest, disconcertingly different sonic attempts, rather wondrous once it finally flourishes deep down in the subconscious. Set against the subtle, yet instantaneous Americana anthemia of Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (where You Got Yr Bomb could easily be a textually abbreviated Lady Gaga album track were horns trade in for honky tonk pianos) Transference is something of a jolting departure from the realms of comfort eating and reclining sofas. Initially, even the trademark hustling husk of Britt Daniel is cloaked amidst the most stop-start instrumentation since Blair publicly picked up his Strat, with the Hammond lulls of Before Destruction exhibiting yet another dimension to Spoon’s perpetually lush lo-fi. Is Love Forever? and The Mystery Zone see slicker production introduced onto reverberating, retro guitars and rumbling bass, whilst Who Makes Your Money comes across as a bizarre spaced-out blissful ballad. Yet the fragmented first half of this record is unlikely to attract such commercial, if not critical acclaim as to be weaved into the web of drab delusionism of The OC or lauded by sycophantic coffee house, Starbucks. However, during centrepiece and standout highlight I Saw The Light, the brand of evolving and effective piece of modern music that’d adorn your mantelpiece were it in any way physical, the LP loops back stylistically to the Spoon of A Series of Sneaks and other such unsung triumphs. Trouble Comes Running sounds akin to The Underdog mk. II run through a warbled tape machine on its last legs, Out Go The Lights encompasses sights out over grim greyscale shots observed through dripping windscreen rain and Mean Red Spider concocts a web of inspiration drawing heftily from the extreme eccentricity of Super Furry Animals and the trashcan garage guitars of Beck. Transference may not be the pop-punk playmaker expected in the wake of their obscenely astonishing mainstream crossover of years gone by but once it’s wheedled its way into playlists and iPods, it makes a fairly powerful pitch for a lengthy residence.