Hot Thoughts is album number nine for Spoon, and their first for Matador since 1996. However, this isn't a 'back-to-basics' exercise, but a rediscovery of the youthful experimentation that stopped an early Spoon being just another Pavement/Pixies rip-off. To that end, Hot Thoughts is the perfect encapsulation of what Spoon are all about, despite frequently sounding like nothing they've ever done.
Like everyone else on the planet, they've seen Stranger Things, and it informs some of the kookier musical choices on this album. The first two songs are loaded with eerie synths, echo effects and ambient chaos. Beyond Britt Daniel's wonky, atonal croon there's nothing particularly Spoon-y going on until the familiar guitar skronk and breezy tambourine come in towards the end of WhisperI'lllistentohearit.
From then on, there's a back and forth between the experiments and your standard Spoon fare. For every hand-clap/kick drum beat (Can I Sit Next To You), there's some glitchy backmasked vocals (Pink Up), and for every anxiety-ridden breakdown ('Words get stuck on the tip of my tongue / Feeling cut off from everyone') there's some breezy, Scissor Sisters-eque disco flavours (First Caress).
This idea is taken to its bizarre conclusion at the end of the album. Following the most typically straightforward Spoon cut, Shotgun, it ends with Us – the sound of smooth, sultry jazz being beamed in straight from the smokiest of speakeasies. It carries a sense of aching beauty with it, though it feels somewhat out of place as there's nothing else like it on this album. While this may not be the most cohesive record that Spoon have ever produced, it is one brimming with ideas (one might say overflowing), and serves as testament that more than 20 years into their career this is still a band with plenty to say.