Review Summary: Lazer Guided Melodies is a mesmerizing journey into another dimension, an experience not easily matched.
Usually the most powerful music is that which transports us to a place we've never been before. It pushes the boundaries of even our own imagination and provides a temporary, yet ravishing escape from what can often amount to a mundane everyday life. Spiritualized are one of those bands that discovered their own portal into the deepest dimensions of space and time, while cordially inviting any followers to join them. Combining the most entrancing and immersive aspects of space rock with masterful musical layering, Spiritualized have crafted their first album, Lazer Guided Melodies, with an eye to the stars.
Lazer Guided Melodies is an inconceivably delicate piece of musicianship. The album conjures up images of vast landscapes of extraterrestrial proportion, making the songs feel larger than life itself. Nonetheless, the album never sheds its personal appeal. Jason Pierce displays his character as mystifying, but warm as he loses himself in a journey through the infinite regions of outer space. Juxtaposing epic sonic textures with pure, organic instrumentation, the music is potent, but never overbearing. Spiritualized relies on smooth repetition and loosely-bound song structures that transmute the individual songs into hypnotic intervals of psychedelic exploration.
The album's flow is practically impeccable, mainly because the focus is more on the environment than melody itself. While this LP is not the most immediate listen, its sweeping instrumentation and its glowing personality warrant the attention of the most critical audiophiles. The album disembarks the world as we know it toward the end of "You Know It's True", as swirling synthesizers fuel the voyage into intergalactic bliss. The band then jumps into some louder and more spontaneous composition with "If I Were with Her Now", as an arsenal of horns and screeching guitars light the way. The track then seemingly develops a mind of its own and carves out its own path as Pierce's vocals fade into oblivion. At this point on the album, gravity has been lifted and the burden of life has ceased to exist. However, the journey is only just beginning.
Marvelous production really lets Spiritualized's music breathe on this album. A visionary expedition into a new sensational world, Lazer Guided Melodies is more of an experience than a collection of tracks. Compelling songs like "Run" and "Step into the Breeze" speak for themselves, while more understated tracks like "Take Your Time' present a captivating enigma. The way these various styles interact with one another lends an incorruptible imagination to the music itself. The album's centerpiece is a trip even further down the rabbit hole. "Symphony Space", a stunning, perplexing entity in itself, calls to mind the bizarre, cosmological star gate scene from "2001: A Space Odyssey". The track resembles passing through a wormhole only to be poured out into an even stranger world beyond all logical consistencies.
On the backend of the LP, Spiritualized focuses mainly on gentle songs that caress the mind with their placidity, but the band never truly comes back to Earth. One of the album's most intriguing songs is the sprawling "Shine a Light", in which Pierce finds himself lonely and abandoned, trapped in this massive realm of unfathomable breadth. The track spills out numerous otherworldly sounds that coat the surface of a pure bass guitar, and it truly wears the exhaustion that Pierce conveys. "Angel Sigh" dazzles with emotion as Pierce's voice echoes from the distance before the drums and guitars burst with raw energy. "200 Bars" represents the perfect exit song for a grouping of songs that is about as forthright as a foreign language. The song sinks into a pleasant groove that eventually disappears into the silence of outer space.
Lazer Guided Melodies is not a logical album; it makes its own rules along the way. Reaching out to the inward emotions of lost souls while maintaining a comfortable distance from reality, the band's composition and songwriting are perceptive and shrewd. The dense tracks often feel orchestral in scale and are tightly packed with hidden treasures that fondle the ears at every turn. Ultimately, the best way to understand this album is to suspend reason and to momentarily leave the left side of your brain at the door.
Shine a Light
Step into the Breeze