"This is the best music that Pierce has created since Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space."
I was there. I can’t say that for many legendary shows, e.g. Nirvana at Stache’s, Morrissey at Wolverhampton, Pulp at Glastonbury, or Bob Dylan in Manchester. But I did see Spiritualized perform “Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space” at Radio City Music Hall in 2010. Jason Pierce played his neo-hymns with a full gospel choir, orchestra, brass band, and two drummers: The perfect setting for his grandiose meditation on the torrents of love. The music swung from free jazz squalls to saturnine expressions of helplessness. Every time the music seemed to have hit a glass ceiling, voices or chiming guitars pulled it up towards greater heights. The crowd left the Hall exhausted and happy they glimpsed the far side of the Milky Way.
With his new album, Sweet Heart, Sweet Light, Pierce proves once again that maturity doesn’t necessarily mean the loss of inspiration. Jason Piece, aka J Spaceman, writes simple melodies. They pick up new timbres and dissonance like new moons coming in and out of the orbit of their home planets. The smallest ideas, say, an A to D chord strummed over and over, are played with the absolute conviction that you can find God’s forgiveness and relief from alienation if you just play loud enough for the sound to reach heaven. It’s doubtful you can actually get there, but it’s wonderful to hear Spiritualized try.