Rae Spoon navigates bodiesofwater through musical channels with the confidence of a captain who knows their vessel inside and out.
Rae Spoon is one of the most fluid songwriters and performers that I know of. In the ten-plus years I’ve followed their career, Spoon has seamlessly transitioned from country/folksy troubadour, to electronic/dance siren singer, to writing an autobiographical musical, to record label boss. Throughout all these wildly diverse projects, Rae Spoon maintains an air of authenticity and sense of self that is increasingly rare; their above-water placidity belies the constant, rapid churning of creativity that’s bursting below their surface.
Released on the twentieth anniversary of Rae Spoon’s first ever show, bodiesofwater is that rarest of late-career records, in that it continues to reveal facets and complexities of its creator in refreshing and dynamic ways. “I Held My Breath” is at once reminiscent of Spoon’s landmark Superioryouareinferior until the song exhales at its half-way mark and a beautiful (if ominous) orchestral swell of strings and horns unleashes a floodgate of emotions kept in check. “Undertow” is a roughed up, choppy rocker that immediately made me think of another homonymous musical act — Spoon the band. Elsewhere, as on “Bioluminescent”, bodiesofwater’s overarching theme of humanity’s connection, reliance, and stewardship of earth’s waters prominently steps forward to remind us of how close our world is coming to turning into “floating ghosts.”
Bodies of water, like our own bodies, are complex living organisms. They come in all shapes and sizes; some are deep pools of feelings and emotion, others seem shallow and unthreatening, but can mire us in their swampy bogs. They are never static. It sounds as if Rae Spoon, two decades into their musical voyage, has firmly developed their sea legs. Spoon navigates bodiesofwater the album through various musical channels with the confidence of a captain who knows their vessel inside and out.