Spoon doesn't need to overflow with Honey-Nut Cheerios, choco-lump ice cream or pickle chips to work their way into the mouths of all who fell in love with last year's Girls Can Tell (Merge), that's fo' sho'. In fact, instead of piling on extra goodies, Spoon has chosen to pare things down on Kiss The Moonlight (Merge)--and the bare utensil is sweeter than the pudding itself. Tiny harmonies, spacious construction and sultry, grittily sheened man-vocals fall into place perfectly over driving beats and Doors-esque piano goodness; it's rock turned dance party.

Don't worry; the usually riff-heavy Austinites still whip out ample axe magic when it's called for, but a fresh approach to song construction has yielded classic hooky gems for songwriter Britt Daniel and company. The key, he explains, was impulse. "Whatever I came up with right away, I turned into a song. I would write and not edit myself, and I tried to get a bunch of songs down quickly and in a really concentrated way. I'd work on 15 different songs at the same time." (You crazy multi-tasker, you!)

If it seems that Mr. Daniel and longtime drum buddy Jim Eno have accomplished an amazing feat in just pooping out golden eggs, it's because they have. Even more amazing is the fact that they've decided to leave the eggs alone. "A lot of times, the more spare a song is, the more it can work," Daniel explains. "Some of my favorite singles are like Prince's 'Kiss'; it's stripped; it's perfect pop." Daniel, who is happiest about the varied nature of his new canon of hits, fondly recalls his creative process with Eno. "We just don't talk. We kind of bubble under, get in a fist-fight or two, and everything's fine."

Somewhere between golden egg-laying and fist-fighting, Daniel discovered the joys of Writing On The Piano and churned out "Small Stakes," Kiss The Moonlight's introductory punch-in-the-face and standout sexy jam. It's also an ode to Austin of sorts, a city which Daniel clearly loves in a familial way: with a tinge of distaste. "It's all about being happy with people and places under the radar," he explains, "which is both a good and a bad thing. You don't have to feel like you're a playa, you can feel great and be yourself, but then again, it can limit your drive sometimes." With constant progression like this, Spoon had better be ready to raise the stakes.