New Release (Fat Possum)
Spiritualized frontman Jason Pierce has done two notable things since Spiritualized last made an album: He revived and toured the group’s 1997 opus Ladies & Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space; and he successfully battled a life-threatening liver condition. Both experiences play into the band’s first album in five years. The grand soundscapes of the earlier album are revisited here, but it’s no longer uncharted territory: his sonic netherworld now feels friendly and familiar, like a Pink Floyd album you’ve owned since adolescence. His near-death experience likely explains the life-affirming tone of Pierce’s new songs: It’s an album built largely on rich melodies rather than spacey jams, and the first full song, “Hey Jane,” is as close to a rock anthem as Spiritualized gets. If you really miss the spacey jams they get off a nice one on the eight-minute “Headin’ for the Top Now.” And if you miss the perversity there’s always “Life is a Problem,” a slightly twisted hymn that makes this album’s appearance on a blues label seem a tad less farfetched.
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