Review Summary: "Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space" is the third album from Spiritualized, focusing on gentle harmonies, sorrowful lyrics, and the addition of horns and strings to create an aura of depression shrouded in beauty.
When I sit down at my desk and pause for a moment to avoid my fluid dynamics work, I daydream about how wonderful life would be as an Astronaut. My dreams sit at the launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center. I envision myself flicking on a row of switches in quick succession. I feel the constraints of the space suit on my shoulders and the itch on the back of my thigh which I will not be able to scratch for hours until I have entered orbit.
When the daydreams hit in the afternoons, I know exactly what music to listen to as the soundtrack of my aspirations. “Ladies and Gentlemen We are Floating in Space” by Spiritualized is a horn-blaring, bass-thumping, vocal harmonizing work of art that I find absolutely fitting for the inside of a space station. However, the consequence of the mission for which I have been assigned will result in a personal loneliness, by leaving my wife and child behind. It is necessary for me to spend months in orbit as I will conduct decisive tasks for the benefits of others, though my sacrifices will slowly nibble away at my self-esteem. I will lament my sorrows but they will go unheard as I fall around the Earth alone.
Depression is the divisive element that Spiritualized conveys beautifully, with very poignant lyrics that could easily slip past an average listener’s attention due to subtle cries just above a whisper. The only consistent band member of Spiritualized, Jason Pierce, sings soft words of “Though I have a broken heart / I'm too busy to be heartbroken / There's a lot of things that need to be done / Lord I have a broken heart.” The song “Broken Heart” is a personal favorite of mine, due to its incorporation of an exquisite string section backed by high and low pitched horns. Pierce also mourns the condition of his heart on “Home of the Brave,” singing “I'm gonna rip it up / Tear it out / Gotta get it off of my soul / I don't even miss you / But that's 'cause I'm f****d up,” with a painful realization. The lyrics are not ground-breaking. However, they effortlessly flow with the music throughout the album when sung almost as sweet as the delightful strings vibrating in the background.
Spiritualized is different from most space rock in that it is much slower than bands like Failure and contains less noise than bands like Explosions in the Sky. Typical instruments are treated as supplements to Spiritualized, as they supplement rhythm with guitars and pound drums occasionally to set a relaxed tempo. Occasionally a song like “All of My Thoughts” or “Electricity” will spawn a vibrant and healthy change to the leisurely pace, including a coherent noise of horns, drums, guitars, and other effects. Overall the album works well as a charming piece of music covering song topics from love lost to tear drops. Given the magnificent harmonies, it seems that floating in space results in a bittersweet satisfaction only understandable by seminal duty in an expanse of emptiness or simply from a listen to this album.