Spiritualized
Sweet Heart Sweet Light


4.0
excellent

Review

by Raul Stanciu STAFF
April 14th, 2012 | 22 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: One of the most accomplished Spiritualized albums.

With Sweet Heart Sweet Light, Spiritualized's 7th full length, the band have created a more immediate record, much like previous effort Songs In A&E, but more versatile just like the now classic Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space. While Songs In A&E, had a more intimate approach, here the songs are blessed with a more grandiose orchestration and a full use of that gospel-like choir never absent from any Spiritualized record.

Sweet Heart Sweet Light starts strong with the 60's influenced pounding first single, "Hey Jane", a typical Spritualized garage blues sing along. "Hey Jane" doesn't break new grounds for the band, but features all you can expect from them: a stomping rhythm with twangy guitars culminating in a frenzied breakdown, only to restart to a great hypnotic end section. Another highlight is "Little Girl", a beautiful laid-back song, with some really nice orchestra touches working here at their best. The verses grow to a lovely chorus where the choir joins Jason Pierce to an exquisite result. "Little Girl" might be the closest to the 2001's somewhat underrated release, Let It Come Down. Still, it's more intimate, never being drowned by the grandiosity that sometimes made that album too much. Still, the meticulous attention to details is present here, albeit in a more concise way.

After a top notch start, the middle section of the album feels rather stagnant. Tracks like "Get What You Deserve" and "Headin' For The Top Now" are great but they are missing that edginess Ladies And Gentlemen's "Electricity", "Cop Shoot Cop" or even Songs In A&E's "You Lie You Cheat" have. The feedback-driven, screeching guitars behind Pierce's confined vocals are all waiting to set off, but when they should, the track comes to an end. This way they're mostly droning for 6 or 8 minutes leaving the listener to wait for the grand finale when there isn't really one. However, in between these two beasts there is another gem, and that is "Too Late". Jason's mournful croons over a warm instrumental section really give this track a nostalgic beauty.

The record picks up towards the end with "Mary", an almost jazzy number, filled with trademark wah wah pedals and a groovy bass line. They all provide the finest background for a 3-minute long shrilling guitar solo, the best this album has to offer. Even if is not that insane, it gives a feeling of controlled chaos, which the band rarely does. The final track, "So Long You Pretty Things" is one of the most progressive tracks Spiritualized released so far. Beginning with a quiet duet between Jason and his daughter Poppy, the track first grows to a heartbroken ballad with a beautiful piano line. There is also a banjo in the background that surprisingly adds much to the atmosphere of the song. Also, when the choir joins in, it gives "So Long You Pretty Things" a serene new dimension. Towards the end of the song, they just keep repeating the chorus each time going bigger and bigger, ending this album on a great note.

Lyrically, there's the same naked sincerity towards spirituality and impending doom Jason Pierce has always had. The nihilist views on life and the fall from the straight and narrow path of equilibrium are featured throughout the album as always. Still, this might become tiresome for the listener because these are the same subjects he tackled on for quite a long time now. It would be nice to see Pierce step out of the comfort zone and write something different, possibly more uplifting. But this opinion might differ for each listener.

Overall, Sweet Heart Sweet Light might be the closest in sound to Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space, but there is something missing from the final product and that is the edginess and unpredictability the band previously had. There's nothing here as wild or as genuinely sincerity (see "Broken Heart") as songs found on Ladies And Gentlemen for example, but still, this album is nothing close to disappointment. By far, this album has a lot to offer, there's nothing to skip here because this is one of the most accomplished Spiritualized albums. However, it doesn't have that spark to outlast its aforementioned predecessor.

Highlights - "Little Girl", "Mary", "Too Late", "Hey Jane" & "So Long You Pretty Things"



Recent reviews by this author
Motorpsycho The Motorpnakotic FragmentsJakob Skott Taurus Rising
Brant Bjork Black Power FlowerSiena Root Pioneers
The Ting Tings Super CriticalMark Lanegan Phantom Radio
user ratings (116)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
thebasketweaving (4)
Sting would be proud....

Ali CONTRIBUTOR (3.5)
Predictably brilliant, at least when it finds it's feet....


Comments:Add a Comment 
insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2012


3502 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The album came out yesterday in Europe and on Monday in the rest of the world. Buy it!

Digging: Motorpsycho - The Motorpnakotic Fragments

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2012


4458 Comments


I will check this out, I love anything spacey/psychedelic. Good review, mate. Pos'd

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2012


3502 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks Paperback! The album is really cool and if you haven't checked out Spiritualized yet, you should definitely listen to them.

@Baseline - are you having a rough 2012 in music so far ?

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2012


3502 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

wow Baseline, that's a lot of albums, I don't think I have listened more than 10, maybe 15 albums released this year yet. Come on you gave such a low rating to the new Mars Volta album ?? why ? It's cool.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2012


3502 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh well...Do you like any Mars Volta records ? Oh and rate this album if you listened to it.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2012


3502 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Maybe it's irrelevant, but it's still better than a lot of reviewing sites/magazines where every staff member ass kisses major label acts and give every stupid album 4 and 5 stars. And thanks for the pos if you gave it

SCREAMorphine
April 14th 2012


1762 Comments


Nice review man, pos

gabethepiratesquid
April 14th 2012


4521 Comments


I need to listen to this, I love SPRTLZD.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2012


3502 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks Morphine!
@ Gabethepiratesquid - you can stream it here - http://www.npr.org/2012/04/08/149860995/first-listen-spiritualized-sweet-heart-sweet-light?ps=mh_frhdl1

Tronic
April 16th 2012


3 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review! (read: I agree exactly with it). Although I think you mean the 'almost jazzy number' is I am what I am, rather than Mary.

The mid-section really is quite boring, and mostly comprises the trademark Spiritualized "noise", i.e. squealing brass and layers of feedback. I don't really see why they're there tbh, at an hour in length it's not like they were struggling to fill up a disc.



insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
April 16th 2012


3502 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks Tronic! Yeah, "I Am What I Am" is a more 'jazzy number' than "Mary", but I find traces in Mary too with the trumpet at the end and that bass line which I really like even if it isn't anything special in terms of skills. Regarding the mid section, those songs are not bad at all, but they lack that sonic burst Spiritualized had on earlier albums, so they are just kind of droning around not going anywhere.

balcaen
May 5th 2012


3183 Comments


All the songs off this sound like they belong in a car commercial targeted toward yuppies

bungy
May 18th 2012


8843 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

oh my god if I got to pick one person to never hang out with it would be baseline.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
May 18th 2012


3502 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

haha yeah she can be obnoxious at times. I don't talk that often to her but she has her moments when she's nicer. the comments here are some of her nicest, less hate ones.

bungy
May 18th 2012


8843 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ha she may be less miserable in person but on the Internet she comes across as a huge snob. These guys will be at a festival I'm going to so I thought I'd check them out, glad I did. Nice job on the review

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
May 18th 2012


3502 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Most likely she ain't a bad person. Yeah, these guys are really good live. I can't imagine though how were they when there was an extended formula with brass section. It must've been really awesome. Thanks man!

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
May 18th 2012


7426 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm seeing them for the first time in autumn. Probably my most anticipated gig of the year.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
May 18th 2012


3502 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I envy you. From what I saw on Youtube the new songs sound really cool live.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
May 18th 2012


7426 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'd love them to come on to Hey Jane, it's such a perfect opener.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
May 18th 2012


3502 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

True that. I saw on setlist.fm they usually open with Hey Jane. Even though there are not many setlists there from the current tour, most probably the order will remain the same, at least for the opener.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy