Sweet Heart Sweet Light
A few years ago, Spiritualized’s Jason Pierce seemed to be stuck in some Kafka-esque world in which he was forever summoning himself to justify his old songs and touring them as a stripped-back Acoustic Mainline show. Then came the heritage show: a performance of his 1997 masterpiece Ladies and Gentlemen… We Are Floating in Space that garnered far more press than his two most recent albums – the plodding Amazing Grace and the harrowing, autobiographical Songs in A&E.
But here, Pierce has been invigorated. He’s reconnected with the far-out life-affirming qualities of rock’n’roll and turned out a record every bit as affecting as early triumph Laser Guided Melodies. The illnesses that Pierce has suffered add a philosophical weight to things, only here it’s expressed in a steely determination, on the propulsive, string-swelled ‘Hey Jane’, and hymnal heart-warmers ‘Freedom’ and closer ‘So Long You Pretty Thing’. That Pierce’s endearingly brittle voice remains the fragile heart of this record is just another thing to slay long-time fans.