Always one with an eye to history, especially that of British pop music of the 60s and 70s, Britt Daniels has returned to the musical inspiration that made Spoon stand out. Yes, it’s spare in parts, but never boring. Daniels has a knack for melody and sounds like he’s finally comfortable applying that to instrumentation. Not a Wall of Sound, by any means, but perhaps a bit more flesh on the bones now. Like Kate Moss with boobies.
There are horns on this album and I don’t hate them.
It’s very Beatley, which is dangerous but I think it’s working. The last Sloan album veers on parody and that’s the danger bands face if they try to sound like The Beatles. They turn into the Rutles. Spoon avoids the obvious Beatle elements (Mellotron, jangly piano, cheeky lyrical puns) to focus on the lighter bits that make those Fab records a wonder to hear to this day.
A band of devout audiophiles, the album was recorded throughout 2006 in Austin by the band and Mike McCarthy (except “The Underdog,” recorded in Los Angeles with Jon Brion) and results in a soundscape that is more a grainy, saturated Polaroid of the Beatles sound, than a polished, but artistically diminished, reproduction. The result is a modern sound engineering take on the vibe bands have been chasing for 35 years.
Daniels is also a student of economy. Not only are the melodies simple and elegant, which is the motor to their longevity, but the album itself clocks in at a tasty, respectful 10 tracks. And we’ll thank you very much for not rambling on!
So, no, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga does not break new ground, but that can sometimes be a good thing when the original plot yields so much fruit. If it was good enough for Paul McCartney, Dave Davies, and Paul Weller to till, it’s good enough for Britt Daniels…and you.