(Ready Records) Thirty years ago, four young musicians from Burlington Ontario called The Spoons, with a debut album (Stick Finger Neighbourhood) to their credit, hooked up with top British producer John Punter and recorded a unique album called Arias & Symphonies.
Having previously worked with breakthrough British bands like Roxy Music and Japan, Punter introduced guitarist Gord Deppe, bassist Sandy Horne, keyboardist Rob Preuss and drummer Derrick Ross to the mysteries of the Roland TR-808 Rhythm Composer. This coupled with Preuss’s Jupiter 1V; SH2000 keyboard stack produced a danceable, rhythmic sound which dominated this album. Tracks like `Nova Heart’, `Smiling In Winter’ and the title track, boasted a majestic sound, synonymous with the 80’s sounds emanating from British bands like OMD, Roxy Music and The Psychedelic Furs. For this album to come from a Canadian band was truly unique at the time.
In fairness, the fact Arias & Symphonies was released on a small indie label (Ready) restricted its international marketability, yet strong radio support from Toronto’s CFNY ignited strong national support from Canada’s indie and college radio stations and the album chalked up over 50,000 unit sales.
Unfortunately, their label insisted on a name US producer (Le Chic’s Nile Rodgers) for their follow-up “Talkback” release and the Spoons distinctive rhythmic sound was compromised. Still, 30 years later, the rerelease of Arias & Symphonies with five added live tracks plus a dance version of `Nova Heart’ re-establishes what was so vibrant about that initial release while showing The Spoons are just as relevant today as they were when this album was originally released.