Complex, thought provoking and engaging
Spiritualized - Sweet Heart Sweet Light

The term ‘space rock’ would probably lead to thoughts of Hawkwind for many of us or something of a progressive nature. Spiritualized get tucked into said genre which, given the first analogy, is somewhat unrepresentative.

Their seminal 1997 album ‘Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space’ did indeed showcase a band who were prepared to stretch boundaries and imaginations, but much of the material since has been far more accessible. Chief protagonist is Jason Price (AKA J Spaceman), a guy who’s battled against ill health for far too long and, in no small way, this latest release is testament to his courage and determination.

The album is troubled, creating a degree of unease, yet the delivery is both thoughtful and reflective, suggesting time well invested in developing the finished product. Sombre for the most part, in the deeper moment there’s the occasional cry to the heavens and when the mood switches to one of detachment (on ‘I Am What I Am’), there’s more than a leaning towards Syd Barrett. The result is complex, thought provoking and undeniably engaging. There are moments of rare beauty, particularly on tracks like ‘Freedom’ and the epic ‘So Long You Pretty Thing’, and it stands as the man’s most proficient work since that 1997 classic. It doesn’t fit at all comfortably in a pigeon hole and that may count towards its downfall, but in a similar way to back then, restrictions are being confronted and thoroughly deserve to be overcome.


Words by TC

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