Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Album Review - Spiritualized

Spiritualized – Songs In A&E
[Universial Records; 25/05/2008]

It's been one tough ride for Spirtualized's Jason Pierce. Literally staring death in the face with bilateral pneumonia, the former Spaceman 3 member has lived to tell a story about the roller coaster ride he's entailed over the last three years and that story is behind the orchestrated soundscapes of his latest album, Songs In A&E.

'Sweet Talk' kicks off the doctrine of events in true Spiritualized fashion, slowly shifting into gear for 'Soul On Fire', which is undoubtedly one of the singles of the year. With its lyrics clearly alluding to Pierce's dabbles with certain substances barely extruding the words “there's a hurricane inside my veins and I want to stay forever”, it's nothing short of a renaissance.

'Baby I'm Just A Fool' is yet again a number that Pierce establishes his near anti-metaphor beliefs, with his fragile vocal running at a parallel with a swathing riff, while 'Borrowed You Gun' is Pierce once again laying groundwork of his song-smith qualities with a symphonic twirl sifting below the vocal mix.

With the sequences of brass noise through Harmonies one to six, this breaks the album up at regular intervals, initially leaving it a little hard to break through. Despite this not really reflecting on the album's bona-fide song-craft, had these little noisy interludes been culled from the tracklist, the album itself would flow better, despite the adamant intention for their inclusion, it seems.

Like many of his previous releases, lyrical topics fail to take the exit route from the highway, and although people may see it as contrived or wish to brand Pierce as merely a one-trick pony, the solitary trick that the man himself performs is rendered in a way that's as good as any other in the business. How he can get away with this time and time again is one of music's great mysteries, but he still manages to come out smelling of roses time and time again. Songs In A&E is really no different.

By Simon K

No comments: