Sunday, January 24, 2010

Transference Review

My favorite description of Transference comes from Jim DeRogatis of the Sound Opinions radio show. He described it as "a road trip record", and it's very true, listening to Transference feels like a road trip. Most of the songs have a strong feeling of forward motion, and this feeling really defines the record.

One of the notable exceptions to this is the album opener, "Before Destruction", which despite not really fitting in with the rest of the album, feels like a prelude rather than feeling out of place. It has a very organic feeling acoustic guitar, which combines with some very spacey vocal effects with very good results. The trip really kicks off with "Is Love Forever?", which introduces the forward motion element, and features a pretty killer guitar hook.

"The Mystery Zone" really reminds me of some of the songs from Wilco's latest album, particularly "Bull Black Nova". The next four songs, "Who Makes Your Money", "Written in Reverse", "I Saw the Light", and "Trouble Comes Running" form the core of both the album and the journey, and keep the propulsive feel strong. "Who Makes Your Money" and "I Saw the Light" both break down into jams over a simple 8th note bass line, which fits the tone of the album perfectly.

"Goodnight Laura" slows things way down, which at first really catches you off guard. It's the first song since "Before Destruction" that is lacking that drive, and its off-putting at first. However, it's a really great song, and after a minute or so it convinces you that yes, it is meant to be there. "Out Goes the Light" keeps things slow, but gets you back on the road.

"Got Nuffin" kicks things back into gear for a final push, and with "Nobody Gets Me But You", you have arrived, and with a really fantastic closer.

I cannot overstate how much I love this album. I think back to my favorite albums of 2009, and this trumps all of them, its that good. It would be impossible for me to choose a favorite track, they are all so good, and they all seem to serve a very specific purpose within the context of the album. As a sample, I guess I will go with "Written In Reverse", as it is relatively indicative of the album's feel. If you don't like it, don't be dissuaded though, I didn't like the song either until I heard it as a part of the album. That's really the bottom line, this is a fantastic album, and it should be enjoyed as an album.
Written In Reverse - Spoon

Stream the album here.

Amazon MP3 ($2 less than it is on iTunes)

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