Progression was Spoon’s Britt Daniels’ middle name for nearly eight years. Intense Pixies-aping led Spoon to a cup of coffee as a major label pop-punk act, and that wound down to a succession of laughably good pop albums. That notion of versatility supplies Gimme Fiction’s only downside, as the progress train stopped at the band’s last release. This record’s different, but there are no bold, brash statements. The stellar Girls Can Tell and Kill the Moonlight albums bellowed, “Britt Daniels is a Golden God”; the mostly lethargic Gimme Fiction languidly coos, “Oh yeah, Daniels is still pretty good.”
Sadly, what passes as just a decent Spoon album is still something most songwriters would kill their own mothers for. The key terms are “dark” and “moody,” but that’s hard to swallow during the art-rock white-boy falsetto funk of “I Turn My Camera On” and the head-bobbing acoustic goodness of “I Summon You.” The perfect story-in-a-song “Two Sides/Monsieur Valentine” proves Daniels’ can carry a mean narrative, while the peppy riffs and handclaps of “Sister Jack” provide surreal backing to lyrics about “a drop D metal band we called Requiem.” Gimme Fiction isn’t a step forward, but it shakes its ass healthily regardless.
Gary Blackwell writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].