Spoon Release Tenth Studio Album, “Lucifer On The Sofa”
On February 11th, indie rock legends Spoon released their tenth studio album, Lucifer On The Sofa! Featuring more raw production than 2017’s Hot Thoughts and some back-to-basics songwriting, Lucifer On The Sofa is an incredible album that covers all the bases Spoon has covered throughout their entire career. There is phenomenal guitar work, some piano, and fantastic drums. From “Held” at the beginning to the title track at the end, this album will hold your attention and keep you coming back for more.
In fact, the beginning is always the best place to start, so let’s start from “Held.” The intro of “Held” is eerie and off-putting, but once that main riff kicks in? Pure greatness. It’s reminiscent of early Spoon and early Black Keys, and it will worm its way into your skull. While the lyrics are minimalist and fairly depressing (“I lay back in the tall grass. I let the ants cover me.”), they give Britt Daniel and crew more time to suck in the listener with phenomenal guitar and bass work. A perfect Spoon opening track in the same vein as “Hot Thoughts” and “Don’t Make Me a Target.”
And then comes the hardest song on this album, which also happened to be the first single. “The Hardest Cut” is blues rock, yes, but that lick in between the first chorus and the second verse – it repeats several times, but that’s the first instance – is straight out of the post-punk world. It even reminds me of an IDLES lick. Throwing in that kind of energy to a traditional blues rock track shows an insane amount of courage, and Spoon, as always, delivers on those moments of courage.
Speaking of courage and continuing to throw in unique instrumentation, “The Devil & Mr. Jones” features a vibraphone. As someone who is obsessed with the vibraphone, I am obsessed with the song. There’s also some subdued saxophone, but the vibraphone stands out more because that subdued saxophone turns into a full horn section. The lyrics tell the story of Mr. Jones, who is selling something that “every mark is saving up for,” and it could be inferred from the third verse that it is, in fact, promises of a better world. “The world is fragile, we’re aware quite acutely. And I know, all he wants, a chance to prove it absolutely.” I’d wager that the song is about cult leader Jim Jones, but that hasn’t been confirmed yet.
“Wild,” the second single to be released for the album, is very reminiscent of 2017’s Hot Thoughts. It could very easily fit on that album, but it would be interesting to see where. Which begs another thought: the flow of this album is awesome.
I know that’s a given based on what I said in the opening paragraph. I know that’s to be expected from a band of Spoon’s caliber. I know. But the flow of this album is impeccable. “Held” has the perfect opening energy, and “The Hardest Cut,” while fulfilling its title by being the hardest track on this album, is an insane follow up. “The Devil & Mister Jones” and “Wild” serve as nice cool-downs before getting to “My Babe,” which starts off slow and soft before exploding into an arena rock anthem. Side A of Lucifer On The Sofa comes to a complete conclusion here, but “Feels Alright” not only feels like a start of a new side. It feels like a continuation of the whole.
In the age of streaming, this is incredible. To have an album that feels perfect on vinyl and on streaming is hard to accomplish, and of course it was Spoon that managed to make it work. Admittedly, though, side B is just a little weaker than side A. “On The Radio” and “Astral Jacket” flow well in the context of the album, but there isn’t much that is lasting or memorable about them. The last two tracks, though?
“Satellite” has some of the best guitar work in Spoon’s discography, and “Lucifer On The Sofa” is the perfect calm after the storm of “Satellite.” It also has some of Britt Daniel’s best vocals and best lyrics. The reference to the grackles of Austin is a fantastic homage to the band’s hometown, and an excellent way to end the album. Particularly when it’s surrounded by subdued saxophone, steady drums, and sweet keyboards.
On the whole, Spoon is one of the most consistent bands. Lucifer On The Sofa, while incredible, only feels weak at points because of how it stacks up against the rest of Spoon’s discography. For the year 2022, the album is near-perfect, and I highly recommend it. Check it out below, and let us know what you think!