Album: Girls Can Tell
"Girls Can Tell" is the third album by the eclectic indie rockers Spoon. After debuting with the pretty mediocre "Telefono", Spoon were signed to a major record label (Elektra), where they released the great "A Series Of Sneaks". When "A Series..." failed to live up to Elektra's sales goals, Spoon were unceremoniously dropped. Rather than giving up, though, Spoon recorded "Girls Can Tell", most of the time without any label backing them, finally getting it released on Merge in 2001. And it's a good thing they didn't give up, because "Girls Can Tell" is amazing.
Spoon make use of a variety of styles throughout "Girls Can Tell". Album opener "Everything Hits At Once" is an exercise in late night mood, making use of a single note piano part, a mellotron symphony, small flourishes of guitar and xylophone. "Lines In The Suit" uses a Spanish guitar line and vocal harmonies. Meanwhile, "The Fitted Shirt" is a mock epic featuring stop-start guitar and mandolin. Elsewhere, "Take A Walk" is a perfect piece of bouncy power-pop, "1020 AM" pulls off 60's psychedelia, "Take The Fifth" is infectious soul featuring tambourines, handclaps, and piano, and "Chicago At Night" conjures up a dark, film-noir mood.
The three man band of Britt Daniel (guitar, vocals), Jim Eno (drums, production), and Joshua Zarbo (bass), along with Mike McCarthy (production) and some occasional help, are an incredibly tight unit throughout "Girls Can Tell". Eno's drumming may not be all that complicated, but it definitely keeps everyone completely in time. Zarbo has a strong bass sound throughout, and displays an influence of 60's R&B and soul music on his playing, keeping it a little looser on some of the songs that require it. Daniel usually keeps his guitar pretty restrained throughout the album, only letting get out in front on the bouncy lead in "Take A Walk" and the folky psychedelia of "1020 AM". Various instruments like piano and mellotron pop up throughout the album to help add additional texture to the songs.
Really, if the 5/5 rating didn't already make it clear, this album is great, and you need it, so get it now.
Highlights: "Lines In The Suit", "Take A Walk", "Chicago At Night"