Archives for posts with tag: Spoons

Album Review: New Day New World, Spoons (Sparks Music, 2019)

This is the Spoons’ first studio release since Static in Transmission (All My People, 2011). From the opening piano intro on the title track to the broken electronic beats bookending this album in the title’s reprise, New Day New World emits a kind of magic.

The Spoons posess an alchemy that has endured through their 40 history: the interplay between Gord Deppe’s and Sandy Horne’s vocals; the edgy guitar; and most of all the synthesized soundscape born in the 80s and ably refreshed with each outing. There is also solid songwriting on this album with chart worthy pop songs, thoughtful down tempo numbers like “Life on Demand” and “Landing Lights,” and the wonderfully synth-laden “Snowglobes.”

An early fan favourite is “For the First and the Last Time.” It is a charming melody with a love song at its heart – bottled happiness. A clever variation on the same tune is “Paint by Numbers Day,” with Horne taking the lead on vocals.

I’ve been a fan of the Spoons since I heard Arias & Symphonies for the first time. I spent my adolescent years adoring the band and their sound. It is exceptionally satisfying, so many years later, to hear such an objectively good and entirely fresh album from start to finish.

I’ll be marvelling at this new magic for some time.

 

The Players: Gordon Deppe (guitar, vocals), Sandy Horne (bass guitar, vocals), Casey MQ (keyboards), Chris McNeill (drums)

 

Related Posts

Best Album of the 80’s: Arias & Symphonies

Arias & Symphonies 30th Anniversary Concert

Static in Transmission

Toronto Retrograde: A Geo Nostalgic Playlist

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Concert Review: Spoons Arias & Symphonies 30th Anniversary, Toronto, Revival Bar, November 30, 2012

When the Spoons announced a show dedicated to their 1982 classic album, Arias & Symphonies (Ready Records, 1982), it immediately made sense to thousands of fans who still follow the band, myself included. You see, Arias & Symphonies is not just an album but it is also a milestone. For those of us who grew up in Southern Ontario in the early 1980’s, our musical awareness sprang from a number of influences, the deepest of which was this album by a band that was ‘of us’ and, at the same time, from the ‘otherworld’ of modern music. In a previous post, I even argue that Arias was the best album of the 80’s.

poster

The Spoons delivered a solid show musically that Friday night in Toronto. Joined by original recording members, Rob Preuss and Derrick Ross for select cuts from the album, the band was tight and did their repertoire justice. Preuss was flawless on the intricate “Blow Away” and even used a vintage Roland 808 drum machine for the show. Gord Deppe and Sandy Horne interplayed as adeptly as ever, still masters of their voices and instruments. The current keyboardist and drummer, Casey MQ and Chris McNeill, were in their stride as well. McNeill in particular reminded us how vital a strong drummer is to the Spoons’ music and how a good drummer can complement, rather than compete, with the signature programmed beats in their music.

The most remarkable thing about that night however, was not the music, great as it was. It was the chemistry of the crowd, the band, and the event. Spoons fans are a loyal bunch. We are in our 40’s and 50’s now (although a younger set was on hand as well). We have “grown up,” leaving to nostalgia our youthful memories of early Spoons concerts in small spaces and summer nights in the Ontario Place Forum. Those “old emotions” well up pretty fast at a Spoons show. Suddenly, we are transported, not to our past per se but to a place where music is really really important and seeing it performed live is bliss. There is a unity of sorts when you’re among true fans who were imprinted, like you, when this music found them so many years ago.

This is not to say that the Spoons are purely about retro-music. Their latest release, Static in Transmission (Universal Canada/Fontana North, 2011) is a progressive album with a refreshed Spoons sound that makes it both contemporary and authentic. Read my short review of that release here.

Leaving the venue that night, I was utterly satisfied with the show. My favourite songs were played. The band had some fun with an alternate arrangement of “Tell No Lies” and entertaining tom-tom solos on “Walk the Plank.” Several fans even got to meet and greet the band before the show. But the most important part of why I was feeling good on that cold walk back to my car was the camaraderie I had felt with a roomful of strangers for two blissful hours.

Setlist

1. Trade Winds; 2. Arias & Symphonies; 3. Smiling in Winter; 4. One in Ten Words; 5. No Electrons; 6. Nova Heart; 7. Walk the Plank; 8. Blow Away; 9. You Light up; 10. Escape with You; 11. Old Emotions; 12. Tell No Lies; 13. End of Story; 14. Romantic Traffic; 15. Nova Heart (Singularity mix); 16. Rodeo; 17. The Rhythm; 18. Symmetry

Players

Gord Deppe, Guitars/Vocals; Sandy Horne, Bass Guitar/Vocals; Chris McNeill, Drums; Casey MQ, Keyboards; Rob Preuss (special guest), Keyboards; Derek Ross (special guest), Drums.

Album Review: Arias & Symphonies, Spoons (Ready Records, 1982)

1982 was an exceptionally good year for music. Duran Duran had released Rio, Simple Minds were in their prime, and countless other eighties acts were peaking musically. It is remarkable that this little band that never got really big produced the definitive record of the 1980s. The Production, arrangements, use of drum machine and synthesizer, and compositions on this album make for an end-to-end submersion into the ethos of new wave music breaking out all over the world at that time. Combine this with the vocal chemistry of Gord Deppe’s lead and Sandy Horne’s romantically haunting backing. Finally, and most remarkably, the synthesizer performance of Rob Preuss is absolutely legendary. Listen to the layered tracks on “Blow Away” and be amazed.

It would certainly strike most readers as hyperbole to call this the best album of the 80s. Yes, there were classics like U2’s War, Simple Minds’ New Gold Dream, Prince’s Purple Rain, and even MJ’s Thriller. But the 80s weren’t about rock or R&B. They were about a completely new genre of music that employed new instrumentation, unconventional lyrics, and a commitment to style in both musical form and function. These are the measures of a great 80s album. And Arias & Symphonies wins, easily. What’s more, I’ve been listening to 80s music since, well, the 80s, and this is the only album that consistently comes back with something fresh on every listen.

Album Review: Static in Transmission, Spoons (Fontana North, 2011)

The Spoons have returned with this album after a long recording silence and what a nice comeback! Static in Transmission is a smart, original album that harks back to the innovation of their masterpiece, Arias and Symphonies. The Spoons are good at pop songs, as evidenced by tracks like “Old Emotions” and “Romantic Traffic”. But they are GREAT at progressive music that blends an 80s new wave ethos with edgy rock melody and original arrangements. Deppe’s guitar and voice laid over Horne’s bass and backing vocals are the Spoons’ magic elixir. They are back to using it to its potential in this album. “Imperfekt”, “Numb”, and “End of Story” are all meaty tracks that soar above pop rock and give the listener some depth to enjoy.