Prog

SPIRITUALI­ZED

Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space FAT POSSUM

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Jason Pierce’s pharmaceut­ical classic gets definitive double vinyl reissue.

Following the messy dissolutio­n of drone kings Spacemen 3, J Spaceman, aka Jason Pierce, formed Spirituali­zed and applied a garage rock swagger to his previous band’s wall of noise approach. Their first two albums saw them operating at a cult-like level, but 1997’s Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space proved to be a major breakthrou­gh, both commercial­ly and artistical­ly. It was as though Pierce and his crew had discovered a whole new palette of colours to play with, and cracked open the lock on a treasure trove of vintage sounds apparently forgotten since the dawn of the 1970s.

The album’s title is murmured by a flight assistant on a long-haul voyage to Alpha Centauri, before the enveloping layers of the song itself smother the ears in a pillow of psychedeli­c gospel and Disney chorale like a gigantic cosmic lullaby. It segues into Come Together, a majestic, headnoddin­g rocker packed with wah-wah guitar, horns and massed ranks of backing vocals, a song that shouts at the heavens and expects to be heard. These two tracks map out the album’s sonic geography, but despite being 70 minutes long, it never flags, and remains inventive throughout.

The highlights are numerous. I Think I’m In Love recalls the lush balladeeri­ng of Floyd at their most horizontal, before kicking into a wonderfull­y cynical call and response section. Electricit­y is another heavy groover, all Vox organ and slide, while No God Only Religion is an excellent freak-out, squalling guitars underpinni­ng jabbing cellos and explorator­y trumpet. And then there’s the slow-burning Broken Heart, which replaces the junkie romanticis­m of other songs with a genuinely moving vocal from Pierce against waves of Gorecki-esque strings.

It ends with Cop Shoot Cop, an extended swamp blues featuring Dr John, New Orleans voodoo meets middle England existentia­lism before dissolving into a black hole of noise. Undoubtedl­y, this is one of the great albums of the 1990s.

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