Jason Pierce, J Spaceman, is back. Somewhat surprisingly.
Having been at deaths door, having said that 2018's And Nothing Hurt would be his last album, Pierce and his latest incarnation of Spiritualized is back with a stunning 7-song album - Everything Was Beautiful.
The bones of the album stretch back to an exceptionally fertile period Pierce experienced in 2013-14 when he wrote and demo'd enough songs for a double album. It's taken almost 10-years for the demos to be reworked and find their way into the wider world across 2 albums, with 3.5 years between them.
A Spirtualized album should always be celebrated. Indeed, J Spaceman's albums always are. We know what we're likely to get, but every single time we are moved by lullabies, melodies, invention, droning guitars, mantra's, dreamy and psychedelic soundscapes to get lost in.
We're moved by Pierce pouring his heart out into his records with his lyrics of love, loss, heartache, drugs, death and reflection. They touch us deeply.
Beginning with a long intro, including morse code, Always Together With You eases us into the album. Never mind cold water therapy, this is like easing into a nice warm soothing bath. Pierce in full on dreamy romantic, anything is possible in love, mode
If you want a rocket ship, I would be a rocket ship for you
If you want another world, I would be another world for you
At 2-minutes 28 seconds the song lifts into the chorus with gorgeous backing vocals. As the song develops we get the sublime vocal layers that Pierce finds effortlessly. The instruments are also built up, like a modern day Pet Sounds. It's stunning, it's Spiritualized, it's just sublime, refreshing and suddenly everything seems better.
Best Thing You Never Had (The D Song) is spacey rock n roll with an infectious guitar riff, rattles of a tambourine in all the right places, flowing into a chorus with gospel singers lifting things in that classic Spiritualized way. There is a rip roaring guitar solo, a breakdown, lift and an extended intro, a tight rhythm with guitars and horns allowed to go crazy.
Honey, you're eyes rolled back, the best thing you've never done
Oh and your wasted time, you best let the water run
And then, with Let It Bleed (For Iggy) we're back into the beautiful dreamy lysergic lullaby space that Jason Pierce can create, interrupted dramatically as the song crashes (from nowhere) into the chorus. Pierce finds the sweet spot (as he so often does) with the extended mantra style outro.
Lay it down, lay it down, lay it down and let it bleed
Come on, come on, come on and lay it down, lay it down, lay it down and let it bleed
If anything, the song is faded too soon.
Crazy is currently my favourite song on the album. A psychedelic country tinged bluesy beauty. Upon first listen I simply tweeted the song with the words Oh J Spaceman.
It's just gorgeous, tugging on and playing a symphony on heart strings you didn't know you had.
Darling I'm sorry, I must make amends
For messing around with you
We've all heard the story, we know how it ends
Darling, I wish it weren't true
The Mainline Song/The Lockdown Song is the complete opposite to Crazy. Space is filled, things feel claustrophobic and chaotic before a riff and melody burst from nowhere. And then you're rushing, flowing directly into the heart of Spiritualized as they find the groove and ride it.
At just after 3-minutes Pierce comes in as the groove continues and new layers come in.
Hush, keep your voices down
Everyone is asleep uptown
And I wanted to know, if you wanted to go
To the city tonight
WOW! Just brilliant. This could be a live highlight.
The A Song (Laid In Your Arms) is beautifully grand, theatrical and bold. This is somehow a little bit like J Pierce fronting and conducting Queen! A crazy description? Judge for yourself. It all goes real Spirtualized in the end!
Before you know it, we reach the conclusion of the album, I'm Coming Home Again. Whereas the length of Spiritualized albums is a strength as there is always plenty of time to get lost in the music, Everything Was Beautiful is delivered in only 44 minutes. That's still an average of over 6 minutes per song!
Pierce stretches the song, introducing different characters and stories, again finding that sweet spot in terms of melody and groove, riding it into the sunset.
Spiritualized play SWG3 in Glasgow on Thursday 5th May.