Spoon Credit: courtesy the artist

Formed in 1993, Spoon have honed a perfect formula over the years, creating a lean rhythmic armature with just enough heft to accent the quietly soulful, post-Bowie singing of front man Britt Daniel. Recently the group have been tweaking that sound more actively—a natural move after more than 15 years of riding a perfect pocket—but they make their first serious missteps on Hot Thoughts (Matador), their most recent album. On its best song, “Can I Sit Next to You,” the band use quasi-­orchestral washes to guide the tune through major and minor keys; the ultra-taut “Tear It Down,” meanwhile, surprises with a jolt of Beatles-esque splendor. Still, some of the more awkward experiments—the flanged electronics kissing the postdisco throb of “First Caress,” the vacuous saxophone noodling of pseudo-ambient album closer “Us”—suggest that Spoon are unsure of their reach. Luckily, they have a deep catalog of material, and the rhythmic power of drummer Jim Eno ensures that even the most misguided explorations never go too far astray.   v