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Spiritualized - And Nothing Hurt (Album Review)

Thursday, 13 September 2018 Written by Jacob Brookman

North American and British indie do fundamentally different things. The former emanates from a land of introverts as an alternative to the blood and guts of rock music and an intellectual safehouse, born as much from the druggy gentility of Laurel Canyon as the broken factories of Detroit. The latter, however, is largely a battleground of extroverts who peacock their way through shouty choruses at beer-sodden festivals. It is an extension of rock, as opposed to its alternative.

Little wonder, perhaps, that Jason Pierce’s 25-year project has found a more consistent welcome across the pond. Spiritualized’s uniquely gentle approach to pharmaceutical and spiritual exploration has provided inspiration to a panoply of American musicians and creatives. In the UK, the band’s audience have been far more fickle.

'And Nothing Hurt' demonstrates why. It is an album of jittering grandeur that veers from scratchy mediocrity to interstellar overdrive, often in the course of a single song.

A Perfect Miracle and Let’s Dance both operate in this space, tumbling from shoegaze into galactic singalongs to impressive, spine-tingling effect.

Elsewhere, Here Comes (The Road) Let’s Go feels like classic rock, with rich guitar licks welcoming Pierce’s muttered lyrics. The song arrives as though tuned into - like Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here - and shows the songwriter's hand a little when it comes to references. Many other composers would be more careful to cover their tracks.

This also applies to the ever-present spectre of the Velvet Underground throughout the album. 'And Nothing Hurt' is a record where musical simplicity and pointedly fumbled playing intermingle with deep layers of complexity and hard-edged intellectualism. It's music for outsiders.

In David Byrne’s book How Music Works, the Talking Heads frontman talks about how - to many early punks - volume and distortion represented integrity and spiritual depth. A similar interface operates on ‘And Nothing Hurt’: its sloppy musicianship and mumbled singing appear to represent the hurricane of mental exploration beneath. Because of that Spiritualized still feel genuinely alternative - even after all this time. You can’t always be a prophet in your own land.

Spiritualized Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Fri September 21 2018 - LONDON Eventim Apollo

Click here to compare & buy Spiritualized Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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