Spiritualized
Sweet Heart Sweet Light


3.5
great

Review

by Ali CONTRIBUTOR (130 Reviews)
April 13th, 2012 | 17 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Predictably brilliant, at least when it finds it's feet.

When Jason Pierce confirmed that the latest Spiritualized album would be directly influenced by his singular space-rock masterwork Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space, the sense of anticipation among followers understandably rocketed. That excitement morphed into sheer delirium upon the unveiling of lead single 'Hey Jane,' a sprawling journey which delivered practically everything that anyone had dared hope for and effectively eclipsed any remaining misgivings regarding that direction. There were shameless odes to the past - most notably the iconic drones recycled straight from 'I Think I'm In Love' - but far from being purely derivative it also pushed Pierce and his band into new, adventurous and outright thrilling territory. At eight mind-bending minutes, it was unmistakably Spiritualized, and although a little more upbeat than we've become accustomed to, it made for one hell of a taster.

Unfortunately, not all of the material on [i]Sweet Heart Sweet Light[i] shares the same flavour, and as such 'Hey Jane's' main purpose (aside from acting as a corking opener) is to mop up a surprisingly lacklustre first half. There is a lengthy psychedelic freak-out in the form of 'Heading To The Top,' and numerous other numbers which on paper seem similarly promising, but all too often they seem to lack the inspiration needed to truly lift off. There's nothing remotely bad about this material - indeed some of it, 'Too Late' in particular, is actually rather good - but much of it does come across as a little sluggish, and regrettably falls below the standards that we've come to expect from Pierce and company.

Thankfully, like some of it's predecessors in the Spiritualized canon, this is a record which really comes into it's own further down the line. Whereas the first half is weighed down by dirge and struggles for flight, the closing straight triumphantly soars into orbit, breaking free of previous restraints and shining bright as a direct result. 'Mary' for instance utilises sombre organ and strings to stimulate the type of out-of-body sensation that Pierce has long since mastered, while the closing duo of 'Life Is A Problem' and 'So Long You Pretty Things' tap into the harrowing, depressive emotions which more often than not provide the basis of his most striking work. Cast adrift by his fears of mortality and religious ambiguity, the singer's vocal aches of sadness and desperation, even when joined by 11-year-old daughter Poppy and a full-blown gospel choir during the monumental closer. It's epic, overwhelming and come the end leaves the listener feeling completely exhausted, but it's in these situations that Pierce so often excels, and that's most certainly the case here.

Given that these doleful slabs of spaced-out melancholy have provided the bedrock of many a Spiritualized album in the past, it comes as no surprise that many of Sweet Heart Sweet Light's finest moments arise from reverting to type. The fact that it takes cue from Pierce's crowning achievement is also no doubt a major contributing factor to this pattern, and in truth it would seem absurd to complain when such passages are executed near enough to perfection. Ok, there's a fairly uninteresting collection of matter in it's mid-section, but the book-ends of this record quite simply display J. Spaceman at his very best, and they alone are reason enough for continued investment.



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user ratings (117)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
thebasketweaving (4)
Sting would be proud....

Raul Stanciu STAFF (4)
One of the most accomplished Spiritualized albums....


Comments:Add a Comment 
AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
April 12th 2012


7338 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Also posted at http://www.muzikdizcovery.com/

Album's somewhere in between a high 3.5 and a low 4 - a B+ basically.

Comments on album and review appreciated!

ThroneOfAgony
April 12th 2012


3485 Comments


Huh?

tarkus
April 12th 2012


5560 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

was gonna do this if no one else did, nice job

get a "/" in on that code

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
April 12th 2012


7338 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks man

I noticed the coding error, edits don't seem to be working at the moment for some reason :-/

tarkus
April 12th 2012


5560 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah i didnt know if they were fixed yet

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
April 12th 2012


15035 Comments


"Summary: Predictably brilliant, at least when it finds it's feet."

its*

listenign to this, dont really like it

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
April 12th 2012


7338 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I don't like this whole knowing of errors and not being able to fix them thing.

Have you ever listened to any of their other stuff, Ladies and Gentlemen.. particularly...?

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
April 12th 2012


15035 Comments


i remember liking some of ladies and gentlemen but it also just sort of floated over me



AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
April 12th 2012


7338 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah it does take quite a bit of getting into. Your "floating over" description pretty much sums up how I felt about it until about the 5th listen.

wabbit
April 12th 2012


7000 Comments


been jamming Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space almost constantly lately Cop Shoots Cop makes a good case for best song ever written.


I still need to check this out, I except it'll be awesome.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
April 12th 2012


15035 Comments


i just

it's so...boring. like i know it's supposed to be derivative of old psych rock and velvet underground sort of and whatnot and thats not a bad thing in itself but jesus this guy writes the most boring songs and covers them in the same homogenous sheen of "ambitious" production and it's just bad

Irving
Staff Reviewer
April 12th 2012


7275 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Solid review.

Lack of album edits bugging you too, eh Ali?

Digging: U2 - Songs of Innocence

fuckthatnoise
April 12th 2012


1479 Comments


yall r dum, this is easily top 10 of the year so far, if not top 5.

DarthMann
April 13th 2012


13815 Comments


yeah this rules

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
April 13th 2012


3395 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

dammit! I waited two days to post it and you beat me haha. Good review. Pos. I'll post mine later today I guess. Oh and at the summary it should be fixed when it works. Sputnik's lagging a lot lately, last night the pages were barely loading.

Also, I found "Too Late" one of the best tracks on the record, it may not be so complex or anything, but it just works for me and "Hey Jane"'s ending is really cool even if the track becomes rather dull after more listens.

Digging: Amplifier - Mystoria

MobiusStripper
April 13th 2012


9 Comments


Great review.

I've been meaning to listen to this, but it's reception so far seems a little disappointing,
considering how good "Hey Jane" was.

Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space never really sunk in with me either. I remember it
having some really amazing moments though, so I ought to give it another listen soon.

Oh, and can I just draw attention to how fantastic the 'Hey Jane' video is. Definitely going to be one
of the best of the year.

scissorlocked
April 13th 2012


3510 Comments


nice review

it's a pretty interesting band, only listened to Ladies and... once and was good



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