Music Spectrum went on an unscheduled hiatus in recent months. This review is part of the “basement notebooks”—old reviews written by hand but only being posted online. Enjoy!
Sadly, this post comes way too late. The Spoon Benders have broken up with lead singer/founding member Matt Winfree beginning a new life in Hawaii, but that’s no reason to stop you from buying their CD. . . .
Like the Strange, the Spoon Benders’ sound is this huge hook that grabs and envelops you, charging your pulse by Brian Bennett’s drums which propel these jams. You hear it right away on Resurrecting the Giants opener, “Making My Name,” where 30 seconds of building intensity launch into a bluesy, Jam Band rocking groove. Throughout the album, the jams this band delivers are built on, fueled by, inspired by, and shaped by Bennett’s drums—fills, rolls, punctuation, staccatos, and runs. When Matt Winfree sings, “What the world needs now is another good hook” (“Another Good Hook”), much of these hooks come from now Bennett hangs them on his drumming.
Because the Spoon Benders live in that Jam Band space (even making reference to “your buckets of blow”), there’s the tightrope walk between condoning and questioning free love/free drugs. “Another Good Hook” and its “buckets of blow” seem to be peeling back the onion of the music business to say it isn’t just about the scene; it’s just about the hook. Yet, I’m sure “buckets of blow” used to get a big cheer from the crowd.
In other places, the lyrics are sexual, seemingly pointing towards making love as an ultimate life goal. However, as I’ve found in other Jam Band lyrics, there’s also confessional words, exposing the dark side of libido and free love. Here that appears on “I Fell Out of the Van This Morning” where the speaker wants to lock up his woman every time she moans unless that moaning happens during sex. It’s a stark picture of just how heartless a man’s sexual drive can be. On “Poison the Water,” the speaker tells his woman not to pry too deep into his thoughts because there are things better left to yourself—thoughts that are too dark, too honest, too personal and would only ruin what they have.
As another common theme in Jam Band lyrics, spiritual questions swirl around the Spoon Benders—from their name (Uri Gellar) to album title (Resurrecting the Giants) to references to sin. “Making My Name” takes us to the dark, extreme side of chasing an “ungodly sense of power” which leads to being “caught up and consumed in flame.” The all-consuming fire of the Holy Spirit is a desire in our souls, but the song follows someone who chases that desire down the devil’s path. Yet, there’s a hope for a cure which could point to being saved by Christ.
“This Moment” melds a desire for a love with a spiritual description, so that “set me free” and “rescue me” are cries directed towards a woman and not God. The song is fodder for discussion (Why meld the spiritual with your human relationship talk? How is your desire for a lover similar/pointing to a desire for Jesus?).
The Spoon Benders (old site)
Yves Giraud (Myspace)