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EXPOSURE/ALBUM: Spiritualized – Sweet Heart Sweet Light

Since forming back in 1990 in Warwickshire, England by J. Spaceman (also known as Jason Pierce), Spiritualized has released seven albums.  Their space rock style has changed since the beginning, following less in the rock of the past and forming their own unique sound, adding, as the genre suggests, a spacey, futuristic feel to classic rock.  Their past three albums have not quite held up to the acclaim of their 1997 album Ladies and Gentleman We Are Floating in Space.  When interviewed by Pitchfork earlier this year, frontman Jason Pierce claimed “If I’m going to make music now, it better be f**king good.”

So he did, and released it on April 17.  The new space-rock album is called Sweet Heart Sweet Light, and includes every style you could imagine, woven together into a great piece.

Originally, the album was going to be called Huh? (which explains the cover art for the album), due to the mental stupor caused by the drugs Pierce was taking for liver disease at the time he wrote the album.  He even thanks two of the doctors he was seeing for the disease in the CD insert, who say he’s all good now.

Pierce has claimed that the more upbeat feel of this album is due to the mental state he was in, he needed to be working on something more upbeat than his previous work.  The beginning of “So Long You Pretty Thing” was actually written spontaneously by Pierce’s daughter, Poppy, who was just 9 when she wrote it and 11 when the song was recorded.  Her vocals are included in the intro, which you can listen to here.

The album includes a lot more reflection in the lyrics, deep meaning in every word, and it is touching and uplifting to listen to, even when the lyrics are positive in an almost there’s-nothing-left-to-lose way.  The rock and roll beats and vocals are intertwined with gospel-y sounds, also including an Icelandic string ensemble and LA based pop vocal group in a few tracks.  As you go through the tracks on the album, works really well together and is a coherent piece despite the varying sound elements.  It goes from rock to pop to gospel and back again, all with the heartfelt (while simultaneously being almost melancholy) vocals of J. Spaceman.  Overall, a good album with varying sounds, definitely check it out for a great collection of tracks.

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