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Sound Check

8/6/2014

SpoonSpoon

“They Want My Soul”

Anti

Spoon is the band that can do no wrong. For the bulk of its career, the Austin, Texas, four-piece has enjoyed the mantle of “critical darlings” — a term usually reserved for bands that manage to impress the people who wield pens for a living, but whose- record sales don’t normally show similar success. In an effort to change that, the potentially aptly titled “They Want My Soul” is Spoon’s attempt at mainstream acceptance. But even in this, the effort is sublime. The band seems to want to walk the tightrope between keeping its sound and basic band identity intact, while injecting just enough pop hooks and clever phrasing to become palatable to a wider audience. To that effect, the whole album is a tautly constructed, beautifully produced affair that occasionally shows glimpses of trying a little too hard to be liked but is ultimately a gorgeous addition to the summer calendar. CV

Sinead OconnorSinead O’Connor

HIV

“I’m Not Bossy, I’m the Boss”

Nettwerk

O’Connor has always been capable of some really great music, but she’s also always had a hard time focusing her message. For a woman who apparently had so much to say, she’s never been able to find a really persuasive way to say any of it. O’Connor still has a beautiful voice, but “I’m Not Bossy” never finds a way to use it, outside of “Streetcars,” the last track on the album. Everything else here is either winking backward to previous hits (“The Voice of My Doctor”) or peeking curiously down some interesting musical avenues without fully committing (“James Brown”). The previously mentioned “Streetcars” and “Your Green Jacket” are the two best tracks on the album, in no small part because they’re the two songs where O’Connor most gets out of her own head and just sings. CV

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