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Published: 2012/07/03
by Ron Hart

Sweet Heart, Sweet Light

Double Six-Fat Possum

Properly following up an album as defining to an artist as 1997’s Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space was to Spiritualized is undoubtedly no easy feat, as the string of ho-hum efforts J. Spaceman has offered in 2001’s Let It Come Down, 2003’s Amazing Grace and 2008’s Songs in A&E can attest.

But in the year 2012, the Englishman born Jason Pierce has finally delivered his Amused to Death with the bright, brilliant Sweet Heart, Sweet Light, eleven songs of pure sonic elevation on par with not only Ladies and Gentlemen but Spacemen 3’s 1989 masterpiece Playing With Fire as well. Spiritualized is at its finest when it reaches the upper echelons of the root of its namesake. And massive tracks like the nine-minute lead single “Hey Jane”, the eastern-tinged “Get What You Deserve” and the E-Street-on-Ecstasy epic “Headin’ for the Top Now” find Pierce returning to the psychedelic church with crosses glowing raw by infusing loving spoonfuls of British Invasion melodies and Chess blues magnetism into the swirl, giving his gospel even more of a roof raising appeal.

“So long you pretty thing, God save your little soul,” Pierce sings repeatedly on the album’s brassy closing track, as perfect a coda as “Cop Shoot Cop” was for Space. “The music that you played so hard ain’t on your radio.”

Yet if the blinding beams of Sweet Heart, Sweet Light burst through enough stained glass windows in the cathedral of pop majesty, that last line might call for a much deserved rewrite.

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