Spiritualised – Sweet Heart Sweet Light
Track to Download – So Long You Pretty Thing
Long story short: best album of 2012 to date. If you’re already a fan of J Spaceman (aka Jason Pierce), then I know you’ll agree with me. If not, you’re in for a treat.
Little Girl is a fantastic pop song, and Too Late is an epic in miniature. As always there’s plenty of long, meandering tracks; some of them glorious (Get What You Deserve), others a little boring (Headinʼ for the Top Now). This is still one of the more immediate Spiritualized albums, and certainly wouldn’t be a bad place for beginners to start (1997ʼs Ladies and Gentlemen… retains the laurels though). Sure there are a few missteps, but the positives are just so outstandingly good that it doesn’t matter.
Pierceʼs beautifully damaged voice is capable of transforming the most simple declarations of love and loss into pure poetry. Drugs and religion feature less prominently than usual, but are still major themes throughout. Pierce still sounds like he’s struggling with the realities of everyday living, but on Sweet Heart Sweet Light he seems more content – even positive – than ever before. The production is classic Spiritualized, with all manner of orchestras and choirs adding layers of warmth and grandeur.
Despite recording the album while undergoing experimental chemotherapy to recover from liver disease, Pierce has clearly put vast amounts of work into this record, and it pays off in spades. The final song, So Long You Pretty Thing, is a modern classic, building until it reaches a perfect chorus halfway through that seems destined to go on forever. I only wish it would.