By Matthew Chambers
Three decades into their career, Spoon continues to impress with their newest project, Lucifer on the Sofa.
Few bands put out more than a few good songs, a good record if that. Finding a band that consistently puts out great material across their entire career is a rare find, and they quickly become a find that’s worth the investment of your attention.
Spoon is one of those bands, and their tenth studio album, Lucifer on the Sofa, does not disappoint. It’s an album that began to formulate once they had gotten off tour for their previous album, Hot Thoughts, after lead band member Britt Daniel wanted to move away from the experimentation on that record to something more familiar overall.
Daniel returned to Spoon’s original sound while also emulating their live sound, resulting in an album built to please new and old fans alike. Extremely focused through its 35-minute runtime, Lucifer on the Sofa offers that live-sound pleasure on every track. Album opener “Hold,” a cover of the Smog single, thrusts you right into this pleasure with its luscious mix of piano, guitar and charming vocals. The entire album is paced exactly like a live show, too, and lead single “The Hardest Cut” is a prime example: a ripping rock track; listening to the track feels like you’re front row at their show with its high-energy guitar riffs front and center throughout.
The ripping rock moments don’t stop there. “Feels Alright” delivers a sharp, infectious hook that cuts right into your head and showcases Daniel’s sticky songwriting. This songwriting skill is prominently felt throughout the album, including standout album cut “The Devil & Mister Jones” that features a blues-rock inspired instrumentation and delivers a classic Spoon vibe.
“Wild” and “My Babe” are easily the stickiest songs on the album, with their infectious songwriting set over strong guitars and piano arrangements that blend with ease. These tracks also recall Daniel’s classic songwriting tropes; nothing new, sure, but hearing him sing about his strong love for “his babe” and the general discomfort of the world harkens a familiarity instead of complacency.
There are moments of relative calm throughout, as evidenced by “Astral Jacket,” whose stripped-back instrumentation brings a sense of intimacy to the record. The following track “Satellite” brings that intimacy to a grand resolution, though, with swelling guitars that build to a moment of bliss. This track fits right in with the live sound Daniel was going for, being a song they performed on tours since 2014 and finally seeing the light of day on a record nearly a decade later. This live-show of a record comes to a grand conclusion on the title track, feeling like a grand finale to a show you’d be dying to relive.
Spoon still has it, 10 albums and three decades later. While Lucifer on the Sofa is not the album that’s going to reinvent the wheel, it doesn’t need to; it sets out to rock, doing what Daniel knows best. And the band succeeds in exactly that. Spoon is still in control of their sound and is wholly successful in distinctly creating an experience.