Spoon have always been on an ascendency. Technically the most critically acclaimed band around today, by 2010 they had ‘Transference’ charting in the American Billboard album chart, with commercial success to match the applause.
It seemed as though they were on the up, ready to finally take the world by storm and become one of the foremost rock outfits in the world. Then, sometime in 2011, following the end of the ‘Transference’ tour, the band disbanded, each member burnt out by the cycle of releasing a record every two years and subsequently touring on the back of it. Acclaim, and the pressure of having to top each record, led to what singer Britt Daniel called “petty differences and squabbles” within the band, and when the opportunity came to take a break, it seemed as though it couldn’t come soon enough.
Fast forward to summer 2014, and Spoon are in midst of touring ‘They Want My Soul’ which is remarkably, their eighth record, with Daniel enthusing about what he deems to be “as good as any other record we’ve made”. The ‘petty differences’ which once blighted the band have been resolved, and they’re are preparing for a tour during the autumn across Europe and the States. When questioned about how Spoon reconvened, Daniel attributes it to all the various projects himself and the other band members - Jim Eno, Rob Pope and Eric Fischel-busied themselves with in the downtime between late 2011 and the latter part of 2013. For Daniel, he sought solace in the world of another musical project, Divine Fits. “We started the band and we figured out who was going to be in the band, recorded the songs, put out the record and toured it,” he recites. “I haven’t really had any downtime. I get bored and I get restless.”
Eno concentrated on his burgeoning production career, including !!!’s 2013 album, ‘Thriller’, whilst Pope’s partner gave birth. After a heavy schedule in between 2001 and 2010, the four members of Spoon were desperate to do different things outside the confines of the band, and it was this desire to break free which, in Daniel’s case, “totally reignited my passion and desire for the band… this time, we were set and ready to go.”
Summer’s often set aside for bands to jump headfirst into festival season, and for Spoon, these shows acted as an ideal warm up for their forthcoming autumn tour of the States. Ruminating on the type of show to expect at festivals from Spoon, Daniel believed that “the only thing different [from a traditional Spoon gig] is that we often play in the daytime to people who may only have heard ‘The Underdog’, so we have to try and compete with all the other bands playing to get their attention.” The fickle nature of the paying punter at festivals works to give bands such as Spoon an incentive to play, what Daniel says, “the best damn show we can”, in order to be the “best thing they see all weekend”.
"It's what I love doing. I suspect I’ll be doing it all my life."
— Britt Daniel, Spoon
The new record seems to be designed with the live show in mind; the bluesy riffs of ‘Rent I Pay’ not only inspiring toe-tapping, but hip-swivelling, whilst ‘Inside Out’ is a sure fire singalong. The latter track ranks up there with the best of Spoon’s recordings, a mostly instrumental track which sees Daniel’s vocals drift in and out. It doesn’t reinvent the formula, but boy it is successful. The rest of ‘They Want My Soul’ is your standard Spoon fare-hooks aplenty, catchy melodies and some superb musical craftsmanship. A Spoon record would be incomplete without these things.
These are exciting times for both the members, and fans, of Spoon. The break has clearly given the band a new lease of life, and the arrival of Alex Fischel on keys is, to Daniel, crucial to the renewed vigour and energy the band project on the record. For Daniel, “the fun part of any record is playing shows”, and he attributes the happiness he has felt over the past twenty years to the success of the band, being “way better than the first half of my life.” The next twenty years are uncertain, but Daniel is quietly confident that he will still be making music in some form. “It is what I love doing. I suspect I’ll be doing it all my life.”
Spoon's new 'They Want My Soul' album is out now. The band play London's Shepherd's Bush Empire on 7th November.