Review: Spiritualized – Everything Was Beautiful
National Music Reviews
Everything Was Beautiful
Fat Possum Records
Spiritualized = Robert Pollard + David Bowie
I hope J. Spaceman never leaves orbit. For years, I have listened to Spiritualized when I wanted to check in upstairs. It has always been easy to be transported away to somewhere I didn’t realize was important with Jason Pierce behind the controls. Everything Was Beautiful is everything I needed it to be. It’s a vast, simple and insanely articulate, mental staycation. Spiritualized albums generally are.
There are so many nuances within this album—Spiritualized’s first since 2018’s And Nothing Hurt—and I am still finding tiny aspects and details to appreciate. Pierce’s music has always been laden with layer upon layer of sound, like a complex recipe where only an expert could point out what exactly is in it, but your average foodie would merely taste the void of something being removed or substituted.
The album kicks off with “Always Together With You,” the lead single and an open invitation to get comfortable. This track is a new version of something that was released years ago; Its latest form is perfectly fitting for what one would expect from Spaceman. From what sounds like Morse Code in the beginning moments, through the dreamy choruses and harmonization to the crescendo and the sound of an airplane getting further away at the song’s end, it lets you know you’re about to embark on a fantastic voyage.
On “Best Thing You Never Had,” listeners gotta buckle in for all of the backing instrumentation and the amount of fun they are about to have. There is a lot of energy here, with horns and strings setting a vibrant pace that’s matched by the guitar and percussion. This is a great track, ideal on repeat to keep oneself in an uplifted mood.
The latter half of the album is a stellar culmination of everything that has made me a fan of Spiritualized since Ladies And Gentlemen … way back in the late ’90s. “The Mainline Song” is fantastic—it’s big and alludes to something even bigger. Lyrically, it refers to being quiet because the town is asleep and inviting someone to venture into the city for something great.
“The A Song (Laid in Your Arms)” is my fave. This track is a clear example of Spiritualized at its best, with so much here to digest and mull over. The song plays like a movie soundtrack, one played over a montage of some ’80s space cadet perfecting his stuff to rise to the challenge of some galactic bully—it is superb.
The album rounds out with “I’m Coming Home Again,” a raspy, grimy song dripping with substance, adding a necessary dynamism to the album as a whole. It reminded me of Tom Waits kicking it with Love and Rockets. It’s got a gritty texture to it, but it comes off as smooth and satisfying at the same time.
The latest from J. Spaceman is great; a call back to the band’s heyday and also evidence of the tremendous amount of work and growth accomplished since. It’s another reason to sit down, chill and let my headphones subdue my stress and coax me into a ride on a starship. –Billy Swartzfager
Read more on Spiritualized here:
Review: Spiritualized – And Nothing Hurt
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