Sweet Heart, Sweet LightAlbum |
J. Spaceman takes flight again.
With topics ranging from addiction and illness to the possibility of an early death, Spiritualized's Jason Pierce isn't just wearing his heart on his sleeve on Sweet Heart Sweet Light -- he's excavating it from his chest as the world looks on. But while Pierce's painfully candid words suggest that we're hearing him crumble in real time, he buoys his sentiments with swelling, angelic compositions. This is dream pop born with one foot already in the grave, tethered to the earth by rusty blues structures and palpable heartache. But this time around, Pierce is too urgent to simply wade in roots rock mud or drift in atmospheric ether, and he employs everything in his arsenal (gospel choirs, Steve Reich-like string oscillations, white-hot feedback) as he rides these songs skyward toward salvation. Sweet Heart covers so much emotional ground, it finds the songwriter working in all the modes he's developed over the years, including lapses into the restrained chamber music of Songs in A & E. However, anyone who thinks the middle-aged space rocker is softening up will be quieted by the statement of purpose "I Am What I Am," a primordial funk brew that sports breaking-glass percussion, demonic guitar scribbles and an eerie sense of occult cool. Things peak brilliantly with the seismic rush of "Hey Jane," a song that beautifully encapsulates the album's messianic pop style. While Pierce's often grim lyrics suggest this could be his final flight, Sweet Heart is the most alive Spiritualized has sounded in years.