As general rock music fan, when I read a few months ago that Spoon was going to release a new album this year, I felt obligated to get into the Austin, Texas-based band. They released the excellent They Want My Soul in 2014 and while I thought the album was great, I got sidetracked by other superb rock releases that year like St. Vincent’s pristine self-titled album and The War on Drugs’ warm, grand, and magnificent Lost in the Dream. Spoon at the time was just a band that I recognized was good, but just didn’t help to keep my attention against the rock releases I was listening to at the time. Over the past few years and in the last couple of months of the band promoting their new release, I could recognize Spoon for the creative, prolific band they are. In an age where rock music in not in the spotlight of the cultural mainstream, Spoon are exemplary in being a wonderfully creative and exciting rock band by releasing consistently impressive records every few years and pleasing their fan base by touring extensively behind every release. So, after not giving Spoon my full attention after their last release, I committed myself to getting into Spoon and was pleasantly rewarded exceptional, swirling, psychedelic haze that is Hot Thoughts.
The reason I am so insistent about “getting into” Spoon because I knew they were great but I had never really delved into their catalog. Rock music hasn’t been as prevalent in the music world’s attention for about the last 15 years and I’ve always knew that Spoon was a hard working band and absolute champions of rock music since the band formed over 20 years ago. The band’s 2002 album Kill the Moonlight is #51 on Rolling Stone’s “100 Best Albums of the Decade,” 2005’s Gimme Fiction was released to universal acclaim and includes one of Spoon’s classic songs “I Turn My Camera On,” and 2007’s Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, appeared in the top 10 of many year-end lists and is the band’s opus where nearly track is pop-rock perfection. After announcing Hot Thoughts, I felt that it was my duty as a rock fan to give the band a chance and it wasn’t too hard to do given the great material that Spoon has provided.
Hot Thoughts marks the first album Spoon has put out from the seminal indie rock record label Matador Records (a label notable for making acts like Pavement, Liz Phair, and Yo La Tengo reach indie rock royalty) since their 1996 debut Telephono. Famed psychedelic rock producer David Fridmann was brought in to produce the entire album after producing only about half of They Want My Soul. Fridmann has produced acclaimed albums for bands like The Flaming Lips, Tame Impala, MGMT, and Black Moth Super Rainbow and his work on Hot Thought helps put Spoon as a great psychedelic band of its time with all of these outstanding acts. Fridmann adds his signature taste of trippy flavor to Hot Thoughts to build upon and innovate Spoon’s sound to keep to band as fresh as they’ve ever been.
While the band’s drummer Jim Eno has himself called Spoon a psychedelic band, many the band’s listeners would agree that Spoon is sound is strong indie rock. But if Spoon has previously been dubbed with the as being a psychedelic rock band, especially on select songs on They Want My Soul, they absolutely embrace and perfect that label with Hot Thoughts. This album is Spoon’s Revolver. An album that completely embodies an experimental and psychedelic sound that they’ve dabbled in before with talent, excellent skill, and clever songwriting to forward-thinking and admirable results. When the album was first announced earlier this year, the first and titular single “Hot Thoughts” was released not long after and immediately captured my interest and skyrocketed my expectations for this record because the track is, in my opinion, the best of the year so far. “Hot Thoughts” is a sparkling, bouncy, lush, and infectiously catchy single that immediately catches and keep your auditory attention for all of its overly fun nearly four-minute ride. The song makes a big splash as the opening track of the album as an absolutely energetic and lively first impression before winding down the album to an easy tempo on the second track “WhisperI’lllistentohearit.” This track sets an accessible and smooth pace for the rest of the album to abundantly include all the album’s psychedelic motifs and nuances. After that track the album ebbs and flows between vulnerable and introspectives ballads like “I Ain’t the One,” groovy bangers like “Can I Sit Next to You,” and then back into more stimulating experimental tracks to keep a cohesion and psychedelic tinge to the entirety of the album. By the time you get to Hot Thought’s jazzy, experimental, and kaleidoscopic instrumental closing track “Us,” you feel awash in Spoon’s ambitious achievement in crafting a potent and marvelous psychedelic rock album further justifies Spoon’s winning streak in creating such consistent and phenomenal rock records over the past two decades, solidifying themselves as one of the genre’s greatest treasures.