Live at the Ryman
with The Goon Sax
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Spoon’s tenth album, Lucifer on the Sofa, is the band’s purest rock ’n roll record to date. Texas-made, it is the first set of songs that the quintet has put to tape in its hometown of Austin in more than a decade. Written and recorded over the last two years—both in and out of lockdown—these songs mark a shift toward something louder, wilder, and more full-color.
From the detuned guitars anchoring “The Hardest Cut,” to the urgency of “Wild,” to the band’s blown-out cover of the Smog classic “Held,” Lucifer on the Sofa bottles the physical thrill of a band tearing up a packed room. It’s an album of intensity and intimacy, where the music’s harshest edges feel as vivid as the directions quietly murmured into the mic on the first-take. According to frontman Britt Daniel, “It’s the sound of classic rock as written by a guy who never did get Eric Clapton.”
Working alongside producer/engineer Mark Rankin (Adele, Queens of the Stone Age) – and with contributions from Dave Fridmann and Justin Raisen – the band’s strategy was straightforward. “I’d come in with a couple new songs and instead of piecing it together like we did the last one, we said ‘Let’s rehearse it’,” Daniel says. “Let’s play it in this room over and over til it becomes something. And let’s just do it with as few instruments as we can.”
The album’s title track snapshots a late night walk through downtown Austin during shutdown, steeped in the eerie dissonance of isolation and intimacy. Daniel explains: “I didn’t know where that image came from but it felt right, this idea of Satan sitting with me on my couch, staring at me. But after the song was written I figured out that the Lucifer on the sofa is the worst you can become – the bitterness, or lack of motivation or desperation that keeps you down and makes you do nothing or self-indulge. So it’s a song about the battle between yourself and that character you can become, the conflict being played out through a long night walk through downtown Austin.”
When the band reconvened in October, Daniel had a new batch of songs, and a fresh sense of momentum. “It’s certainly something we didn’t take for granted, that feeling of being in a room with each other,” Daniel says. “That moment was a once in a lifetime kind of feeling.”
Lucifer on the Sofa is the sound of that moment, a record of defiant optimism, the sound of a band cracking things open and letting them spill out onstage. At a time fraught with uncertainty, it’s shutting the door on the devil you know and never looking back.
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