Thursday, December 27, 2007

Album Review: Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (4.5 / 5)

Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga is a refreshingly good alternative album. Refreshing in that it works not because it's obsessed with being clever, but that it delivers good basic rock. The set is pretty much mid-tempo all the way--no swoony ballads, no clubby rock outs--and benefits from an excellent production. The bass guitars are prominent, the electric guitars crackle, the piano chords come through loud and clear.

"Don't Make Me a Target" is a great opener, with prominent bass guitar, rhythmic electric guitar, and sharp piano chords interspersed with hand claps. It has a staccato rhythm, and the punctuated sound permeates a lot of their songs, such as second track "The Ghost of You Lingers." The album title, according to Wikipedia, actually refers to their predilection to use staccato prominently. Here it's layered piano chords, which is a cool sound, but this is actually my least favorite song on the album, since I feel like it doesn't really go anywhere besides having cool piano chords.

Spoon gets back on track with "You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb," the album's best track. This upbeat, soulful track adds horns to the mix, with piano still prominent. Melodic "Don't You Evah" is also quite good, with a plodding character driven by bass and guitar. I also like the darker "Rhythm & Soul," which again has a strong guitar and bass interplay.

Other highlights include "The Underdog," perhaps the album's most upbeat track, which again prominently features a horn set in addition to the standard guitar/bass/drum combo. Tambourines and hand claps lend a retro flair too, '60s-ish perhaps. The track that follows, "My Little Japanese Cigarette Case" is quite a contrast, but I love it too. A leaner production and synth bursts give it a nice atmospheric quality. The bass guitar comes through great here too.

There's really nothing bad here at all. Strutting "Eddie's Ragga" reminds of Hard-Fi, whom I adore; "Finer Feelings" (not a Kylie remake) adds some electronic bleeps to the guitar, bass and hand claps mix, along with a harmonized vocal; and final track "Black Like Me" finishes the set on a quieter note with acoustic guitar and piano.

This is the Austin, Texas band's sixth album and a bit of a commercial breakthrough for them (it hit #10 on the Billboard 200). I'd never heard of them before, but I thought it was really cool.

Best: You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb, Don't Ya Evah, The Underdog, Don't Make Me a Target, Rhythm & Soul, My Little Japanese Cigarette Case.

1 comment:

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