The first minute of Transference sounds like a false start. Not since 1995’s Telephono has Spoon sounded so anxious. A skeletal organ leaks onto a drum twitch in “Before Destruction,” and then it all withers away, brushed aside on the eve of some contorted chorus. Britt Daniel is then left mumbling and crunching casually on a lo-fi acoustic, and he sounds like he’s not quite sure what to do next. These uncharacteristically unkempt moments riddle the whole of Transference.
After the professionalism of their career up to Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, Transference is a refreshing glimpse underneath Spoon’s seams, which Daniel has afforded himself to bear after six albums of perfectly tailored song writing. Working with no editor, the would-be defects of Transference are preserved, and Daniel turns his songs inside-out in order to start from scratch and recharge the impulse that has kept Spoon working for 15 years. Minimalism turns to expressionism, Daniel leaving more songs to unfold as kinetic processes rather than bargains for pop digestibility. Fragmented show-cases of studio tricks range from the hydraulic charges and off-beat echos of “Is Love Forever” to the hushed sweeps of “Who Makes Your Money.” Sometimes frenetic, but sometimes guarded and absent minded. It’s frail but honest, like many of the candidly sketched characters that are trapped in each song.
The notion of transference itself describes an act of redirecting repressed feelings to another person, the things we have to get out before we can move on.