Friday 7 September 2018

And Nothing Hurt

I like to sit around and dream you up a perfect miracle
Part the clouds and have the sun proudly shining on you
Take the stars and line them up to spell, darling I love you
And little by little, watch it all come true

The broken, world and life weary, dreamy, psychedelic lullaby voice of Jason Pierce, AKA J Spaceman, ushers And Nothing Hurt, the new Spiritualized album in. And we're off to get lost. In classic Spaceman form, opener A Perfect Miracle builds with multiple vocal layers, strings and horns. It's a beautiful and soulful love song, classically dreamy and with Spaceman lost in love.

every time I close my eyes, I'm just dreaming of you

I'm Your Man was the single to launch the album and it built up expectations. Thankfully they have been exceeded. Pierce plays up to his image and lays his heart on the line, his guitar soars over horns.

I could be faithful honest and true, holding my heart for you
Dependable all down the line, devoted all the time

But if you want wasted, loaded, permanently folded, doing the best he can
I'm your man, I'm your man

Pierce's fragile voice can seem shattered at times, full of joy and wonder at others. Here It Comes (The Road) is the latter, it's full of love and the simplicity of driving with the radio on, eventually leading to his house and the brilliant lyric;

And you can see my house from here
And the way my heart is beating
You'll hear the sound
It'll wake the sleeping

Pierce conjures such emotion through his lyrics, voice and music. Let's Dance is a gorgeous ballad that tips a nod to Big Star in the lyrics. It builds beautifully, the music sounds like it could be from the Beach Boys Pet Sounds sessions. Pierce allows plenty of space and time for the music to play and flow at the end. 

On The Sunshine is more of a psychedelic rocker but it's the fragile, tender ballads that are capable of building, soaring and swooping, that dominate and stand out on And Nothing Hurt.  One of them is Damaged and after a few songs where Pierce is in love, this is one where he's had his heart broken. No-one can write a song about losing in love quite like Pierce, Broken Heart from the seminal Ladies And Gentleman We Are Floating In Space album is the closest I have heard to the sound of a broken heart on record.

Having talked up the ballads, The Morning After is brilliant psych garage rock that sounds like The Velvet Underground jamming with Phil Spector's Wrecking Crew. The psych jam adds in Miles Davis and the MC5.

We dive back into the serene calm of The Prize and Pierce is contemplating leaving (dying? - see below re his illnesses) and debating if love is the prize from life. It's lush, it's dreamy, it's hypnotic

Some reports indicate that And Nothing Hurt may be the final Spiritualized album. If it is, then Sail On Through is a fitting finale. Pierce has been through a tough time in the 6-years since the last Spiritualized album, suffering from double pneumonia and also from liver disease.

Pierce is at his dreamy psychedelic lullaby best as he creates a rich sonic wonderland to get lost in.

If I could hold it down
I would sail on through for you
If I weren't loaded down
I would sail on through for you

And Nothing Hurt is a rich, deep, soulful and lush album with lots to discover and plenty of scope to get lost in. Expect it to feature high in my end of year list of favourite albums from 2018.

Spiritualized are playing live shows, with only one UK gig (London) confirmed at present. They have shows in America and on the continent. Fingers crossed J Spaceman comes to Glasgow - potentially for the last time.

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