New Yorker music critic Sasha Frere-Jones wrote in a controversial article that today's indie-rock bands lack good, old-fashioned rhythm, using bands like Grizzly Bear and Arcade Fire as examples. In my opinion, it's kind of a ridiculous article; he's just as bad as any of the bands he criticizes for having a style that lacks what he's looking for. Sure, Grizzly Bear doesn't take a lot of inspiration from Motown or '70s funk, and Arcade Fire sounds more like Springsteen than Sly and the Family Stone. And while that may not be Jones's preference, it's silly to think that all bands should sound like Spoon, a top-notch band that sounds like what Jones is jonesin' for, despite their absence from the article.
Spoon has always sounded a little like a throwback to the soulful bands of the '70s, back when white dudes mixed guitars with a horn section. And on Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, one of the band's strongest albums to date, they seem to play on that idea with their song titles, particularly the album-closing "Black Like Me." The white guys from Austin, Texas have had a soulful sound for their last few albums, and while this new one isn't much of a departure from that niche, they're certainly not in any hurry to fix something that isn't broken.