Album Review: Spoon vs. On-U Sound - 'Lucifer on the Moon'
Updated: May 3
Released in February, Spoon’s Lucifer On The Sofa has been my favorite album of the year. It is true with new music coming from Kendrick Lamar, !!!, Poliça, Sault, Brijean, and Thom Yorke and Johnny Greenwood in the form of The Smile. (Remember, I am talking about my favorite, based on my personal likes.) I cannot see the future, so I cannot say it will be my top choice in December. However, for another album to take its spot, it will have to catch my attention when some of my favorite bands and musicians couldn’t. The only thing Lucifer On The Sofa has working against it is that it has been on top for eight and a half months. Enter Spoon vs. On-U Sound’s Lucifer On The Moon.
In an article from Stereogum and James Rettig, Britt Daniel says the On-U Sound project is not “just remixes, but companion pieces. A ‘Part II.’” Spoon’s frontman said that Adrian Sherwood, founder of On-U Sound, “added so much more instrumentation to the tracks that they became completely different versions of the songs.” So, when I checked my email and saw the Lucifer On The Moon download, I was excited to see what I thought.
I write about it all the time; the first song and its intro are very important to my listening and reviewing experience. While I love some albums where they did not mesh with me, i.e., A Moon Shaped Pool, more often than not, if I’m not impressed right off, I will have a hard time with the rest of it.
Lucifer On The Moon started with “My Babe (Adrian Sherwood Reconstruction),” a song that sounded like just a flute was added, and I bit my tongue. Then there is what sounds like a cello. All instrumental for the first minute and a half, I wasn’t sure what I would think of this companion collection.
Oh, no, I thought. It was the same fear I had when I was going to see Spoon in Asbury Park. What if this changes my opinion of the album, but not in a good way? However, seeing them live was a great experience. I left thinking, I really like this band. Soooo...I was going to listen on with an open mind.
At the two-and-a-half mark, Ok, something different is happening. I feel a build.
Next is a slowed and, at times, reggae rhythmic version of “One The Radio” with an added harmonica. I liked what was happening, but I was still not one hundred percent sold.
I need to make my confession here. Although I love Spoon’s version of “Held,” I did not know it was a cover. The original never made it to my ears, and the information I receive when I preview an album is minimal. It is just the music. Upon learning that “Held” was a song done by Smog, I was blown away. I checked it out and thought, cool, but I loved what Spoon had done to it. To start an album with a song that had over a million listens and make it their own, mad respect. But back to Lucifer On The Moon.
Yes, here we go, I thought. “Held (Adrian Sherwood Reconstruction)” is where this album got my attention, at least on my first listen. It is intense with layers. Something I could play loud and get lost in.
“The Devil & Mister Jones (Adrian Sherwood Reconstruction)” kept it going. Maybe I was learning his methods. Maybe I was beginning to understand what was happening in this version. Check it out. I love this version.
Then, instead of ending the album like it did on Lucifer On The Sofa, the title song was placed right in the middle. The longest companion piece, it forced me to reexamine my take on the original version. Not that I didn’t like it. I did. However, being the last song on the album, I never listened to it as often as all the others. Yet, here it is, stuck right in the middle, and where the first one was minimal and a great exit song, now it draws more attention. I appreciate the work it does.
“Astral Jacket” was the point on the original album where the music slowed. I wouldn’t say I check out here—I love the entire thing—but it took some time for me to fall in love with the last three songs like I did the rest. So, on Lucifer On The Moon, I was prepared for it. Spacy and everything a song with the word astral in the title should be. And that percussion again. I love that throughout the entire album.
The following three songs, Yes! Thank you. It starts a great stretch of songs that have grown into three of my favorites.
“Satellite (Adrian Sherwood Reconstruction)” ends this collection, and it could not be more perfect.
Final Thought: After listening to Lucifer On The Moon multiple times, I began to understand what was happening in “My Babe (Adrian Sherwood Reconstruction),” or at least believe I do. It starts out simple and quietly grows from the original until it becomes something of itself, thoughtful, respectful, and a great companion piece. It defines the over concept as well as any intro song I have ever heard. I can totally understand why Britt Daniel gave it his approval.
Final Thought #2: I am grateful for everything I learned from Spoon this year.
Favorite Songs: “On The Radio (Adrian Sherwood Reconstruction),” “Lucifer On The Sofa (Adrian Sherwood Reconstruction),” and “Astral Jacket (Adrian Sherwood Reconstruction)”
Rating - 4.9 out of 5 (While it is brilliant, it cannot be scored as high as the original.)