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Girls Can Tell

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Album Review

Time may not exactly heal all wounds, but it can lend the perspective and strength to channel pain into something positive. Such is the case with Spoon; their perennial indie rock underdog status and disastrous stint on Elektra have focused and tempered the trio's brash energy instead of crushing it. Their third full-length, Girls Can Tell, reflects the group's lean, hungry stance in its spare, spiky, immaculately crafted songs. "Take the Fifth" and "Take a Walk" take Spoon's smart, bouncy, slightly tough signature sound to another level; while the ghosts of the Pixies, Nirvana, and Elvis Costello still haunt songs like "Lines in the Suit," Girls Can Tell's sharp wordplay, barbed guitars, and appealingly raw vocals prove that the group embraces their influences without becoming slaves to them. Britt Daniel's increasingly eclectic and expansive songwriting comes to the forefront on "Everything Hits at Once," a taut, brooding pop song driven by vibes, keyboards, yearning, and pride; "Me and the Bean" suggests the direction alternative/indie rock should have taken after Nirvana's implosion. This album is also Spoon's most emotionally eclectic collection of songs, ranging from "Anything You Want," a sunny pop song drawn with just a few artfully placed strokes to "1020 AM," a brooding, slightly psychedelic piece of folk-rock that recalls Daniel's Drake Tungsten side project. "This Book Is a Movie," an appropriately tense, filmic instrumental, and "Chicago at Night," a slightly spooky pop song with winding guitars and an off-kilter melody, complete Girls Can Tell, making it Spoon's most mature, accomplished work to date and a fine balance of fire and polish.

Customer Reviews

Girls Can Tell: Raw and Honest

I discovered Spoon a couple of years ago when Gimme Fiction was first released. When I first heard Girls Can Tell, I didn't like it very much. But there was something that kept me coming back to it and now I can't stop. The album is so emotionally loaded; it has a wonderfully raw feel both musically and lyrically. One of my favorite lines in the whole song is "Don't say a word.... the last one's still stinging." It is so simple but so effective. During the whole album, I'm on the verge of either crying or laughing; I can never make up my mind which one. With this album in particular, Spoon has kept my faith going in new music. It's so refreshing to hear a band putting out something real and honest with the amount of emotionally/intellectually devoid music out there right now. I would urge anyone who has listened to this album and not loved it immediately, to give it a few more listens.


Formed: 1994 in Austin, TX

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

With a heady blend of precision punk and serpentine classic rock (the band has drawn comparisons to everyone from the Pixies and Sonic Youth to Elvis Costello and Tom Petty), enigmatic, Texas-based indie pop outfit Spoon went from underground press darlings to one of the genre's premier commercially and critically acclaimed alternative rock acts. Formed in Austin by singer/guitarist Britt Daniel and drummer Jim Eno, Spoon released its debut EP, Nefarious, on the small Texas imprint Fluffer Records...
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