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Spiritualized - Everything Was Beautiful (Album Review)

Friday, 29 April 2022 Written by Graeme Marsh

So much of what Spiritualized are good at comes from deliberate, painstaking refinement. In 2014, J Spaceman (Jason Pierce) recorded a bunch of demos, which formed the basis of 2018’s ‘And Nothing Hurt’, a fine return to form that was the result of immense amounts of  re-recording, remixing and layering. 

Perhaps it was this continuous revisiting that made the album so satisfying, and the good news is that their ninth studio album ‘Everything Was Beautiful’, which also has roots in those demos, has been given the same treatment.

Pierce plays 16 different instruments on the LP, has utilised in excess of 30 musicians and laid the whole thing down across multiple studios. This somewhat excessive approach matches the meticulous approach he has taken to assembling the tracks in order to capture the sounds he hears in his head.  

Covering all Spiritualized bases, there is something for everyone here. There’s the country-tinged, lovelorn Crazy, where Pierce is “falling in love like a fool” despite seemingly wanting the love of someone who isn’t in a position to return it. Then there’s the chugging rocker Best Thing You Never Had (The D Song), one of a number of songs peppered with brass.

Ethereal opener Always Together With You is like a bud being teased open by the warmth of the sun, but by the time it’s reached its conclusion it’s become a glorious, chaotic mess of considerable weight. Let It Bleed (For Iggy) seems like a nod towards both the Rolling Stones and the Stooges, yet the song lovingly basks in the mood of Lou Reed’s Perfect Day.

For all the impressive sounds emanating from the first half of the album, the second half is even better. Clarinets add a touch of mayhem to The A Song (Laid In Your Arms), a track with an oozing prog-rock core that melts across seven minutes of swirling chaos.

But, not for the first time on a Spiritualized album, you get the sense that everything has been building up to its climax, in this case the near 10 minute I’m Coming Home Again. According to Pierce, it was “always the thing that the record hinged around” and it’s like the final ascent to a higher place after a meandering climb that’s taken in a thousand sights on its way—compelling stuff.

Spiritualized records are often more like an experience, something given added potency by packaging: here the LP includes a pop-out pill box that can be assembled into something real, echoing ‘Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space’ with its original pill packet casing. ‘Everything Was Beautiful’ is beautiful inside and out.

Spiritualized Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Fri April 29 2022 - CAMBRIDGE Corn Exchange
Sat April 30 2022 - BRIGHTON Brighton Dome
Mon May 02 2022 - BIRMINGHAM Symphony Hall
Wed May 04 2022 - GATESHEAD Sage Gateshead, Sage One
Thu May 05 2022 - GLASGOW SWG3
Sat May 07 2022 - DUBLIN 3Olympia Theatre
Sun May 08 2022 - MANCHESTER Bridgewater Hall
Mon May 09 2022 - NOTTINGHAM Royal Concert Hall
Tue May 10 2022 - LONDON Roundhouse

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