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Spoon review

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  • Carl Zimring
    http://www.nytimes.com/2002/09/28/arts/music/28SPOO.html When Singer and Players Go Their Separate Ways By KELEFA SANNEH [O] ne of the best things about Britt
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 29 5:26 AM
      http://www.nytimes.com/2002/09/28/arts/music/28SPOO.html

      When Singer and Players Go Their Separate Ways
      By KELEFA SANNEH

      [O] ne of the best things about Britt Daniel is that he seems to be in the
      wrong band. While his three bandmates keep the songs short and cold, Mr.
      Daniel adds heat, belting out the lyrics in a slippery voice that suggests
      an English accent filtered through his hometown of Austin, Tex.

      Mr. Daniel's band, Spoon, has been combining cold and hot for years, and it
      perfects this approach on its new album, "Kill the Moonlight" (Merge),
      which squeezes a dozen stripped-down songs into half an hour. On Sunday
      night at the Bowery Ballroom, the group put on an impressive show with
      enough swagger to make their choppy, abstract songs sound like hit singles.]

      The concert began with the drummer providing a hard, basic beat. Then the
      keyboardist played a staccato chord progression, and Mr. Daniel sang the
      first lines: "Small stakes give you the blues/ But you don't feel taken,
      don't feel you've been used."

      Soon Mr. Daniel had added some guitar, and the bassist was playing, too,
      and for a while it sounded like a fleshed-out rock song. By the end,
      though, Spoon had returned to a more abstract sound: the whole band was
      playing the same note, and Mr. Daniel was singing, "C'mon! C-c-c-c-c-c'mon!"

      Mr. Daniel's brash delivery is what turns these sketches into songs, and
      even when his lyrics are formulaic his voice makes them memorable. Never
      underestimate the power of an accent ? Mr. Daniel has clearly learned
      important lessons from great British frontmen like Elvis Costello, Paul
      Weller and Mark E. Smith. When he sings "That's the way we get by," it
      comes out as, "Oh thus ooh ae-wuh goodbye"; for some reason that's much
      more convincing.

      The band used a number of tricks to make sure the backing tracks stayed
      energetic; sometimes the drummer would play in one time signature while the
      rest of the band played in another. On a few keyboard-driven songs the band
      achieved a herky-jerky melodicism, as if they were playing Beatles songs
      with all the silences spliced out.

      For a slower, weirder song called "Paper Tiger," the keyboard provided a
      metronome beat, and Mr. Daniel used his guitar to add some noise. The
      lyrics, though, were as tender as any he delivered all night. "We could go
      kick down some doors together/ Stay out till morning, sharp as knives," he
      sang. And then came the refrain: "All right."

      At the end of the regular set, after a vigorous song called "Jonathon
      Fisk," Mr. Daniel said thank you and walked off. He must have bumped the
      microphone stand as he left, though, and as he disappeared the microphone
      hit the stage, making a sound as sudden and as sharp as one of his songs.
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