Spoon

Telephono/Soft Effects EP
(Merge)

Britt Daniel fans who cut their teeth on "Girls Can Tell" and "Kill the Moonlight" may be shocked to hear how freely Daniel borrows from The Pixies and Nirvana on these first two Spoon releases, back on the streets for the first time since more than a handful of hipsters outside Austin would have recognized the name. But even at their most derivative, you won't confuse these records (now packaged together) for a Silverchair anthology. They're edgier than that, especially when Daniel goes all unhinged on the chorus of "Not Turning Off" or unleashes the squealing guitar on "All the Negatives Have Been Destroyed." Other tracks make the most of a loopy vocal style just conversational enough to suggest early Jonathan Richman, while the rhythms channel Wire. And although the songs are in no danger of replacing "Gimme Fiction" on your average Spoon fan's iPod, you can definitely hear the promise of their later triumphs in both Daniel's and drummer Jim Eno's performances. The band feels tighter and more Spoon-like on the follow-up EP, but it's missing the quirky exuberance that made the debut so much more than just another post-Nirvana hook explosion.

 
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