Spiritualized
And Nothing Hurt


3.8
excellent

Review

by insomniac15 STAFF
September 8th, 2018 | 53 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Goodbye?

It’s been a while since we listened to new Spiritualized music. Luckily, the troubled soul blues kicks back in full force, as Jason Pierce strove to create a record that reflects the passing of time and getting older. Therefore, to fit the themes, we hear less rock ‘n’ roll and more subdued, steady tempo tunes. At this point, there is nothing new to expect this project, just further consolidation of strengths. The front man mentioned these songs are like a soundtrack to a lonely drive through the American desert, so freedom is a recurring theme. His lyrics have always touched dark topics, as well as several vices or issues that pieced together the portrait of a man who constantly deceives his significant other. Nevertheless, the music sounds more optimistic this time around, gathering influences from the band’s discography. Most prevalent are grandiose LPs such as Let it Come Down or Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space, which shaped a great part of their sound.

The engine slowly starts with ‘A Perfect Miracle’, a sunny, ukulele-led ditty. The swaying verses reminisce the title track off Ladies and Gentlemen…, whereas the orchestral touches are pristine. The beautiful intro gives way to the first single, ‘I’m Your Man’, whose slow, waltzing rhythm is nicely assisted by restrained guitars and lovely brass sections. As Pierce’s gentle voice is overtaken by the instrumental on the choruses, you can clearly hear the multiple layers unfolding. There was actually a lot of effort put into piecing And Nothing Hurt together, like cutting several sonic bits from different records to fit on certain parts (the violins are an example and other instruments Jason cannot play). It was a painstaking move that now the man himself admitted it was pointlessly hard to do, yet a limited budget was also a reason for this decision. Some songs feature more than a hundred recorded tracks & samples, still the results feel more intimate than you’d expect. ‘Here it Comes (The Road) Let’s Go’ or ‘Let’s Dance’ sound as if Spiritualized are playing in your bedroom, before gradually building up. The former takes its cues from gospel music, using sing-alongs alongside background vocals, while the latter’s joyful piano chords are augmented by trumpets and saxophone. Hell doesn’t break loose life before, however, they breathe life into the so far placid record.

There are only two rockers on And Nothing Hurt, finally showing themselves halfway through. I was expecting them most, because these rock ‘n’ roll outings have become rarer with each LP. ‘On the Sunshine’ features more urgent vocals and the music feels tensed, ready to burst into some psychedelic freak outs. The sharp, distorted guitars soar behind Pierce until the last minute, when feedback & a drum solo make way for an energetic coda. Luckily, further noisy segments are to be found on ‘The Morning After’. The rather disjointed boogie grooves leave the second half for the horn section, keyboards and guitars to rage. They create a Blackstar vibe only gone wrong, but this dissonance is actually refreshing. Up to this point, everything felt too carefully placed on the album, a weird thing for a Spiritualized one. Unfortunately, the last two cuts tone down the experience, returning to the mellow pace we got accustomed to. ‘The Prize’ offers a smooth transition to melodic parts, having oscillators progressively fading out during the first minute, before the bass lightly joins the drums. Its lovely, holistic finale finds Jason questioning his feelings towards his partner. Then, closing number, ‘Sail on Through’ offers the answer and could easily double as a swan song. He needs to be free, so using lush chords to send his deceiving message creates a bittersweet ending to this journey.

Initially, And Nothing Hurt was supposed to be J Spaceman’s final record. However, since its release he’s not so sure about it anymore. Probably the long process of piecing hundreds of tracks together alone took its toll on his patience, but the man had had some life threatening health issues that might have contributed to his initial decision too. Nevertheless, this LP successfully condenses Spiritualized’s discography into a cohesive, 48-minute listen. There aren’t any revolutionary moments here, so if Jason doesn’t feel like releasing any new efforts in the future, this is definitely a strong way to say goodbye. There’s no filler, each tune sharing something interesting or catchy. My only complaint is the slight lack of punchier cuts. He could have added one cocky, noisy track such as ‘Electricity’, which I find amazing. Even so, I understand it might have been out of context here. All in all, the LP is easily enjoyable and stands on its own very well. Dig it.




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user ratings (89)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
September 8th 2018


4638 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

It's not up there with Ladies and Gentlemen, Sweet Heart Sweet Light or Let it Come Down for me, but it sounds great overall. I hope he will still release 1 or 2 albums, because none are bad in the discography.



'I'm Your Man' (video) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vNrHoLS1zc

Full stream - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEqXaM4ADCY

Digging: The Ocean - Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic

zakalwe
September 8th 2018


25911 Comments


The opener is fucking awful, Jase has turned into a proper soft sod. I can’t bring myself to listen to the album.

zakalwe
September 8th 2018


25911 Comments


Blind Melon fucks face.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
September 8th 2018


4638 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

I wouldn't say awful, but yeah, compared to previous stuff this is overall mellow. Closer to Let it Come Down and Songs in A&E

TheSpaceMan
September 8th 2018


11571 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Album is precious like always



You hurt me zak

theBoneyKing
September 8th 2018


15497 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Album was decent on first spin, I may be doing it a disservice though by having it be the first Spiritualized album I’ve heard other than Ladies and Gents, which has been one of my favorite albums for close to three years now, so I can’t help but compare it disfavorably to that.

Digging: The Twilight Sad - Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters

zakalwe
September 8th 2018


25911 Comments


Space dude. I’m going to spin it in full cos you dig. Bear with us pal.

TheSpaceMan
September 8th 2018


11571 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

much love, I get that this will never be among his best but he actually tried to make something out of this and you can hear it, a pot of love and tragedy and everything in between as the rockstar who hasn't lost his humanity after it all

theBoneyKing
September 8th 2018


15497 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I like the opener but can’t help but feel like it’s too similar to the Ladies and Gents opener/title track (melody, structure, chord progression) for its own good. Maybe an intentional homage/call back to that track?

Tunaboy45
September 8th 2018


16583 Comments


So hyped to hear this, great write up. Let's hope the wait was worth it.

TheSpaceMan
September 8th 2018


11571 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

sorta agree boney and honestly might be the weakest track here but its still nice

Nrap
September 8th 2018


414 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I dig The Morning After

AdolfChrist
September 8th 2018


17957 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ive been looking forward to this so hard.

Digging: Devil Master - Inhabit The Corpse

theBoneyKing
September 8th 2018


15497 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Morning After runs too long imo

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
September 9th 2018


8018 Comments


Dropping this here for future inspection, after reading your review Raul later in the day:

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2018/09/the-ecstatic-sound-of-midlife-melancholy/569581/

Digging: Suffering Quota - Life In Disgust

Pheromone
September 9th 2018


6443 Comments


I’m so excited to check this

Digging: Wussy - Funeral Dress

anatelier
September 9th 2018


2396 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

cant decide if i like the opener. sounds like it's definitely a reprise of the ladies and gents opener - if it's intentional then i think i like it, if not it's just indicative of how repetitive and formulaic the rest of the album is. definitely felt like i was listening to the same track over and over again.



edit: hadn't seen boney's comment saying the same thing about the opener. it's got the exact same diction. i'm leaning towards it being on purpose, but it's confusing to listen to.

Pheromone
September 9th 2018


6443 Comments


even a reprise of ladies & gents would sound better than 99% of other music

anatelier
September 9th 2018


2396 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

but have you listened to it yet phero

Pheromone
September 9th 2018


6443 Comments


nah, im preparing to eat my words



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