Spiritualized CD review [Sanctuary]

Music Reviews
Spiritualized CD review [Sanctuary]
By
Sep 9, 2003, 03:50

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SPIRITUALIZED Amazing Grace CD

I hate to say it, but it sounds like the quality of Jason Spaceman's artistic output is limited to his own misery and/or drug use. Because this sober-with-wife-and-two-kids version of Spiritualized, along with the previous overly orchestrated and hook-less Let It Come Down, is essentially a tedious affair of big-budget blandness. And, perhaps as some sort of compensation for the bloated previous album, Amazing Grace seems like an attempt to sound relevant to fans of the White Strokes by employing distorted vocals, lo-fi mono drum sounds and up-front dry guitar sounds. There is absolutely no intensity, no pathos, no urgency to the vocals—not even Spaceman's trademark detached misery—so no matter how hard the excellent backing musicians are working, the lyrics are asinine and their delivery is fittingly unconvincing.

“She Kissed Me and It Felt Like a Hit” is a weak play on the Carol King penned paean to spousal abuse performed by The Crystals under the gun of Phil Spector called “He Hit Me (It Felt Like a Kiss).” The landmark Spiritualized album, Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating in Space was an entirely derivative yet intriguing exercise in finding reason to go on living by celebrating the virtue of the power and beauty of rock music (as was said reverence arguably the fuel for Spacemen 3.) Our Spaceman's since sought to simply rip-off his own songs, as on “Lord Let It Rain On Me” or “Hold On.” The results are familiar, yet less than stunning.

Die-hard fans of Spiritualized will find pockets of goodness herein—it's certainly an improvement over the previous album—but overall the hooky pathos of yore is gone. I wish I could attest of Amazing Grace, ahem, how sweet the sound. But it's really just a dull stab at relevance long after kicking his muse's habit. [Sanctuary/BMG]

-Dave Clifford

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