The last time Spoon released an album, 2010’s Transference they had just been named ARTIST OF THE DECADE by Metacritic. That sounds not unlike one of those weird, nebulously titled awards people used to invent in order to get Michael Jackson to show up to ceremonies in the 1990s, but this time it was based, more or less, in fact. Metacritic is a website devoted to aggregating other people’s reviews. By their metric, the Austin, Texas-based quintet’s oeuvre had emerged as the most widely and consistently critically acclaimed of the noughties. This being the internet, there’s been considerable controversy about how the website’s metric works, but the Artist of the Decade award seemed to permanently underline Spoon’s status as Critical Darlings.
They Want My Soul may be the most varied thing Spoon have ever put out, but there’s nothing tentative about it. The first snare drum thump of “Rent I Pay” alone shows that the Spoon swagger is back, but “Do You” is the sugariest pop confection the band have come up with in quite some time, “doot-doot-doot”s and all. The motorik blues of “Rainy Taxi” and synth pop stormer “New York Kiss” (surely a holdover from the never-recorded second Divine Fits LP?) bring the rockin’ and romance, while “Inside Out” even borders on slow-jam territory.
They Want My Soul sounds like the best dive bar you’ve ever been to. It’s got the best jukebox, the coolest clientele, and it’ll fight your corner if another album’s giving you grief. If you want it put more plainly, Spoon are exactly the kind of band who don’t give a toss if they were the ‘Artist of the Decade’. They just make fantastic, intricate albums that sound like they’re not even trying. Spoon are a band with nothing to prove. They Want My Soul proves everything.