The image on the cover of Gimme Fiction recalls a popular image from fairy tale lore – that of the ill-fated Little Red Riding Hood. It’s this sort of brooding essence mixed with colorful exuberance that Texan indie rockers Spoon exhibit on their highly awaited follow up to 2002’s Kill the Moonlight.

Gimme Fiction is a collection of various different moods and genres on one disc, and at times it can feel a bit scattered and incomplete. “The Two Sides of Monsieur Valentine” expresses the wish to be a schizophrenic anti-hero who not only gets to swordfight the duke, but also kidnap the queen, leaving the inquisitive listener to wonder what exactly will happen afterwards. “My Mathematical Mind” begins with a slow piano repetition that builds over the course of five minutes to include hammering guitar chords and slow trumpet drones. Right in the middle of the album lies “I Summon You,” an upbeat tune with lines like “Remember the weight of the world / It’s a sound that we used to buy,” which makes it the perfect listen for a road trip. In “I Turn My Camera On” Britt Daniel assumes a falsetto voice over a steady drumbeat as he talks about gazing on a potential love interest from afar.

It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to call Gimme Fiction all over the place. But it doesn’t take away from the overall feeling of the album. In fact, it’s a credit to Daniels that he is able to make every song sound natural. None of the record feels beleaguered or forced, and it seems a steady evolution from one song to the next. In a world full of homogeneity and complete lack of spontaneity, it’s nice to hear a band that’s not afraid to take risks and experiment.
[Brad Vargyas loves good fiction, so long as it is full of pulp]