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Spiritualized - Songs in A & E

  by Benjamin Howarth

published: 7 / 6 / 2008



Spiritualized - Songs in A & E
Label: Universal Music
Format: CD

intro

Long delayed latest album from Spiritualized, which released after a serious illness left front man Jason Pierce fighting for his life in intensive care, shows itself to have been very much worth the wait


No Spiritualized album has ever been released without a decent back-story. But, 'Songs In A & E' has emerged from an especially remarkable period in the life of Jason Pierce. His most recent album, 'Amazing Grace', had an underwhelming reception and is now often available in bargain bins (although I’m a big fan, and I liked it, even I would concede that it wasn’t a patch on his best work). Yet, touring in much smaller venues enabled a fiery live show, which toured non-stop for over a year. I interviewed Pierce during that tour, and he seemed inspired to be working with musicians capable of doing more than he told them to do, and said he was keen to make another album as soon as possible. He wasn’t expecting a serious illness that left him fighting for his life in intensive care, and it is therefore only after a five year wait that ‘Songs In A & E’ appears (he couldn‘t resist the pun). In between his recovery and finishing this album, Pierce abandoned the band for his ‘Acoustic Mainlines’ tour, which demonstrated that his songs didn’t need epic arrangements and studio trickery to sound magnificent, and had firmly restored his reputation. So it is an album that arrives with greater anticipation than his last. Obvious questions out of the way first - no, this is not the equal to ‘Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space’. Pierce’s music will always be judged against this remarkable high-point in his catalogue, and it’s a little unfair to dismiss his other work as a result. It certainly doesn’t mean that ‘Songs In A & E’ lacks merit on its own terms. Pierce has not been one to radically alter his approach. The usual themes - love and god, basically - are present and correct, with a further range of shameless drug references veiled in the thinnest tissue paper. The basic musical tenants also remain the same - a blending of garage punk, lush classical strings, gospel melodies and Pink Floyd guitar effects to hypnotic effect. He is at his best when singing ballads, but he is capable of imbuing even his rock ‘n’ roll songs with a rich texture. ‘Songs In A & E’ benefits from far from variety than either ‘Let It All Come Down’ or ‘Amazing Grace’, and is therefore much easier to wade through in a single sitting. Just as on previous albums, I suspect his songs will reveal their true charms over several plays, or even only after several months. So I’ll reserve judgement on where exactly this fits into the grander scheme of things, except to say that if you’ve liked Jason Pierce’s songs in the past, you’ll like these, and it’s a delight to hear some new ones after so much time.



Track Listing:-
1 Harmony 1 (Mellotron)
2 Sweet Talk
3 Death Take Your Fiddle
4 I Gotta Fire
5 Soul On Fire
6 Harmony 2 (Piano)
7 Sitting On Fire
8 Yeah Yeah
9 You Lie You Cheat
10 Harmony 3 (voice)
11 Baby I'm Just a Fool
12 Don't Hold Me Close
13 Harmony 4 (the old man ...)
14 The Waves Crash In
15 Harmony 5 (Accordion)
16 Borrowed Your Gun
17 Harmony 6 (Glockenspiel)
18 Goodnight Goodnight


Band Links:-
https://www.facebook.com/spiritualizedofficial/
https://twitter.com/officialspzd


Label Links:-
http://www.umusic.co.uk/
http://www.universalmusic.com/
https://www.facebook.com/UniversalMusicGroup
https://twitter.com/umg



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interviews


Interview with Jason Pierce (2004)
Spiritualized - Interview with Jason Pierce
Backstage at a gig in Exeter, Spiritualized frontman Jason Pierce talks to Ben Howarth about the band's latest album 'Amazing Grace' and the group's current hard touring schedule

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Royal Festival Hall, London, 1/8/2004
Spiritualized - Royal Festival Hall, London, 1/8/2004
In the luxurious surroundings of London's Royal Festival Hall, Dominic Simpson watches Spiritualized play a frequently spellbinding set, but is left wondering, after 20 years of perfecting his vision, where frontman Jason Pierce might go next
Lemon Grove, Exeter University, Exeter, 3/2/2004

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