England - Full Moon 86 - 10/10/03
Amazing Grace... Seems like Jason 'Spaceman' Pierce still is in the gospel corner when putting
out Spiritualized's fifth studio album, Amazing Grace. The album opens far from the gospel
world, kick-starting with white-noise numbers "This little life of mine" and single choise "She
kissed me (it felt like a hit)". Space-garage-rawk with a cause. But, then: "Hold on", and, later:
"Lord let it rain on me" - and all of a sudden Spiritualized have become spiritual. Again.
The big difference from last album, Let it
come down, is dropping the orchestr-o-rama. Sort of. Beacause Spiritualized still sound big,
high-flowing/flying, above skies, and they have kept some horns and strings for the sake of stretching
their music. But where Let it come down almost sounded over-blown, Amazing Grace has
(at times) got more of a 'dirty' feel. Being more greasy, more dirty. Yet, I thik I prefer the
Let it come down mode.
The two noisy opening tracks, the bluesy swamp-rawk-thing "This little..." and "She kissed...",
show an aggressive spaceship Spiritualized. A storm before the silence, because when they soften
up with the next tracks they show the sensitivity I think Jason is good at. Especially the (almost)
compulsory heartbroke track "Oh baby", presenting feelings in tearstained "scope". Pretentious, yes,
but with bravery, without blinking, in style. Then rock-noise comes again with "Never goin' back",
before the 'into jazzland' experimental "The power and the glory", which is an awkward moment on
this record. Sort of out of time.
What I find to be the best song of the album is "The ballad of Richie Lee". A loveable, quite
simple ballad. No make-up, just plain sincerity. The more fast and furious "Cheapster" (think Violent
Femmes meeting the Jesus and Mary Chain) is also quite appealing. "Rated X" is the longest and most
ambitious track. Gently, softly. It works, but only partly. Then comes closing track "Lay it down
slow", which is also a soft-spoken moment, and I get this feeling of it being a 'sequel' to Let
it come down. Last dance at the soft rock café (which sounds as a way better place to be,
a thing to do than at any HRCs). Nevertheless its extremely soft.
Fact: I was disappointed by Amazing Grace. Spiritualized need to be pompous. But not in a
too fluffy way. They also need to rock, but there must be some focus present.
Pst! Check our Spaceman interview
from 2 years back.
Copyright © 2003 Håvard Oppøyen