Sunday, November 02, 2008

Album Review: Spiritualized

Spiritualized -'Songs in A&E' (Sanctuary)

I have to confess, this has been one of those albums on my 'hmm, must get round to hearing' rather like Primal Scream and Metallica, on the 'I like the stuff I've heard by them over the last decade and more, cannot afford to buy it just yet' list. And now I'm kicking myself at having, frankly, denied myself the pleasure.

Because, quite frankly, as The Wire had pointed out, this is their most compelling set for a decade. That album was the genre-busting psychedelic masterpiece Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space. Rather like many other records of the time, it was a fantastic record that did well, critically and commercially, and was not dissimilar in vein to records that followed by Mercury Rev (Deserter's Songs and All Is Dream; Grandaddy's The Sophtware Slump; and of course Flaming Lips' The Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots.

And rather like the follow-up albums from many of these artists, Spiritualized's next two studio albums Let It Come Down and Amazing Grace were good albums, but just not as amazing as we'd hoped they'd be. But this album is frankly, amazing. A gorgeous mixture of all that we have loved Spiritualized before. This confirms that Jason Pierce (or J. Spaceman, as he is credited on pretty much every Spiritualized album) is a genius. Genuinely a Brian Wilson for our times, who is trying to get the angelic music out of his head and down in the recording studio.

And from start to finish, the album does not let up. It never drags nor dips, and makes you want to go back and listen to it from start to finish again. Like many multi-layered albums it's a headphone work that beenfits from being listened to closely as it yields more and more of its' charms.

J. Spaceman is once again firing on all cylinders. Be sure to enter and be wowed.


Spiritualized's official website/

The videos cannot be embedded as the code been disabled by request (why?!) but here are the links to go and watch 'You Lie You Cheat' and 'Soul On Fire'

The tracks can also be streamed at myspace above.


Anonymous said...

I don't agree with the common consensus that the 2 albums post LAGWAFIS are only good, like all Spiritualized albums, there are highs and lows but i don't really find myself comparing them to each other as there is such a time between the albums and the different line ups it like trying to compare Fall albums. But I will agree that the latest album was a belter.
I was lucky enough to see them a few weeks ago at the ABC in Glasgow and the band were on top form and did an amazing version of Take Me To The Other Side. Check out for yourself here :
ps the Primal Scream album is pish

david said...

Good post Ed.
'hmm, must get round to hearing'
Yup, me too and that's just what I'm going to do today.

It's the third time this week this has happened to me, Digital Mystikz & Thrum being the other two, thanks to some fine blogging (yay!) by Teenage Kicks and Too much Apple Pie.

Just shows you the power of a good music blog. In yer face Columbia!

JC said...

'Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space', I'm sorry to say is an LP that I feel has not aged well at all.

Listened to it again for the first time in years just a few weeks back and was bored...

Bring on the backlash..

Ed said...

Drew - maybe I need to go back and listen again. I just fell hook, line and sinker for LAGWAFIS and this is the first album that's really grabbed me by them since then. Primals album is OK, but doesn't match XTRMNTR or Screamadeica, IMHO.

David - I rest my case

JC - guess we're going to have to agree to disagree with each other on this. I still play it a few times each year, so it's never really slipped off my radar.


neveroddoreven said...

Same for me with 'Song In A+E', still not bought this one yet for same reasons as you. Am much more tempted after reading this! I love 'Ladies And Gentlemen', though to be honest I think I listen to 'Let It Come Down' and 'Live At The Royal Albert Hall' more these days. All brilliant albums, the live one in particular is immense.

What does anything think of early Spiritualized and Spacemen 3? What JC said about 'LAGWAFIS' was what I thought about most of the Collected Works (vol 1) - impressive, maybe, but not much fun to listen to, and very dated now. What might be a better starting point?

Ed said...

Really like Spacemen 3 but not an authority -only have 'Recurring' and 'Playing With Fire.'

For early Spiritualized, I recommend 'Lazer Glided melodies.'