Sweet dreams from space
SPIRITUALIZED/Sweet Light Sweet Heart/Domino**** Jason Pierce has been one of the most important and influential figures in music for longer than even he cares to remember. “Difficult” and “challenging” as he can be, he has always possessed a true musical vision with his only problem, seemingly, being how to translate his grandiose ideas into sound.
With Spacemen 3 he patented a druggy psych-rock that many lesser bands sought to imitate with little or no return. With Spiritualized he refined his vision to bring his laser-guided melodies to a wider audience and provided one of rock’s great moments with the awesome album, Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space.
We were given due warning that the band’s seventh studio album would be a “pop music” affair, with The Beach Boys
(no less) the sonic template. This isn’t dream-rock’s Pet Sounds, but it is a stunning display of musical invention and ingenuity.
Berlin Bowie, Van Dyke Parks, even a hint of 1970s West Coast AOR, are all present and correct here as Pierce succeeds in pulling many disparate strands together to sometimes truly remarkable effect.
Hey Jane is a nine-minute psychedelic wig-out-cum-garage-rock stomp that is as ambitious as it is effective. His skill at layering on the sounds à la Phil Spector is much in evidence as the track swerves its way to its final destination. By total contrast, Little Girl sounds like it fell off a Flying Burrito Brothers album (something you would never have thought possible on a Spiritualized record). Tightly focused and surprisingly traditional in arrangement and execution, it is one of many highlights here.
Freedom brings it all back to a woozy, hymnal feel only for Get What You Deserve to get all grandiose and orchestral on us. The real gems, though, are towards the end. Life Is A Problem (“Jesus won’t you be my radio, broadcast direction where I got to go/ Send me your signal, I will receive”) is gospel music by way of baroque rock.
The closing track, So Long You Pretty Thing, is simply one of the best things Pierce has ever recorded – a reminder that genius still lurks on planet Spiritualized. spiritualized.com
Download tracks: Hey Jane, Little Girl, So Long You Pretty Thing