★★★★ And Nothing Hurt BELLA UNION. CD/DL/LP Maestro Jason Pierce coins austerity maximalism.
IT’S BEEN six years since Pierce’s last outing, Sweet Heart, Sweet Light – longer even than the gestation period for Songs In A&E, during which he battled double pneumonia. His eighth Spiritualized album was created up against a global recession and ongoing record-biz crisis. In a corner-cutting culture, this everything-but-the-kitchen-sink rock auteur found himself priced out of orchestral sessions in swanky studios, driven instead to self-record on a laptop in his bedroom. Yet And Nothing Hurt emerges of-a-piece with 1997’s Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space, luxuriant in its more ornate arrangements (see lavish opener A Perfect Miracle), with strings presumably supplanted by synths, and its spasms of Cop Shoot Cop-style skronk mayhem (The Morning After) sounding as if 30-odd free-improvising noiseniks were simultaneously deafening Pierce’s neighbours. In terms of songcraft, he’s hardly reinventing his own circular, romance/heartbreak wheel, although standout Let’s Dance summons a delectable carpe diem urgency. So, another inspirational triumph over adversity.
Spritualized’s Jason Pierce, still floating in space.