Girls Can Tell


More often than not, “minimalism” is a loaded, pejorative term, a lazy excuse for lack of ample songwriting and/or technical acumen. For the greater bulk of the ’90s, however, Spoon have been carefully and caringly crafting abstract, disarmingly low-key pop songs (more like fully realized sketches, actually) that fruitfully fulfill minimalism’s grand, oft-aspired-to premise: locating a simple idea and effectively contorting to its fullest extent. Girls Can Tell (clever title), the trio’s fourth album thus far among a half dozen or so singles and EPs, sees Spoon staying the course, the record comparatively more restrained, somber, and less rockin’ than its predecessor, career highlight and ill-fated major label debut A Series of Sneaks. Mind you, this isn’t a slight in the least, for Spoon’s sound is one patently etched in stone, only to be tinkered with for whatever dynamic is required for a song; rather, it’s an accurate assessment of a band who does a lot with a little (mostly around two minutes, and gratifyingly at that) and, in turn, sadly receives little attention. Call it thinking man’s pop, but I’d prefer to simply call it near-genius.

Merge, PO Box 1235, Chapel Hill, NC 27514, http://www.spoontheband.com

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