It’s easy to forget that Jason Pierce is just another guy. The music he makes with his band Spiritualized is so sweeping and epic that it almost seems superhuman. He’s trying to change all that though.
|Love, God and drugs are some of the everyday topics that make their way into a Spiritualized song.|
Between 1997’s critically-acclaimed Ladies and Gentlemen we are Floating in Space and the recently released Let It Come Down, Pierce fired just about every member of the band in order to keep things from getting static.
While the results aren’t exactly a complete change from past work, Come Down is a much more straightforward album than Spiritualized fans might expect. Still, straightforward by Spiritualized standards means no less than 100 musicians per album.
Spiritualized arose from the ashes of the seminal outfit Spacemen 3, a band that combined the minimal gusto of early Velvet Underground with the sonic blasphemy of Can. For nearly a decade the group made recordings that would pave the road for future “space rock” bands like Loop and My Bloody Valentine. By the time the ’90s rolled around, Pierce decided to leave the group to pursue a new band he called Spiritualized.
Under his new moniker, J. Spaceman (recently changed to simply Spaceman), both Pierce’s songwriting and experimental capabilities grew.
With three monumental albums and a captivating double live album since 1992, Spiritualized has assured their place in musical history with a powerful canon of material that ranges from frighteningly manic to tear-jerkingly beautiful.
While the grandiose nature of their music is extraordinary, the lyrical subject matter is anything but otherworldly. Love, God and drugs are some of the everyday topics that make their way into a Spiritualized song.
Let it Come Down lacks the cohesiveness of Ladies and Gentlemen we are Floating in Space, but it is not without it’s share of fine compositions.
“Won’t get to Heaven (the state I’m in)” is the album’s 10-minute drug-induced epic. “The Twelve Steps” is “Spiritualized punk,” a sound no other band can cop, while “Stop Your Crying,” with its heart-wrenching gospel choir, is music to crawl under the kitchen table to potent five-minute escapism.
Unfortunately some of the works veer waters too close to past work. “On Fire” is just a rewriting of ’97’s “Electricity.” “Don’t Just Do Something” is trademark Pierce profundity, but lacks much to set it apart from Ladies and Gentleman’s title track, the bands almost-hit.
So 2001 isn’t the year of Spiritualized’s masterwork. Big deal. We can’t always have a London Calling or The Queen is Dead. What we can have is the glorious live interpretation of Spiritualized’s works complete with 13-piece orchestra. Seeing them live a near religious experience to many is highly recommended. Just don’t forget your earplugs, because this band conforms to the notion of the louder the better.
Spiritualized will play the Trocadero on Oct. 24.