Jason Pierce, the mastermind behind Spiritualized, has worked his way through many movements during his career. Initially in spacerock superstars Spacemen 3, he toned it down for the first couple of Spiritualized albums, mixing shoegazey effects with slower song tempos. He then switched over to turn the band into a full-on skyscraping gospel blues juggernaut and now, on the bandís fifth studio work, Amazing Grace, he wants to ROCK. Which is all fine and good, because he and his boys can rock with aplomb. Rejuvenated by the rock revolution headed by The White Stripes, Pierce reinjected a garagey, heavy guitar sound back into his band and they are all the better for it. ìShe Kissed Me (It Felt Like A Hit)î is all blazing guitars, pressing percussion and Pierceís vital, soulful vocals, while album opener ìThis Little Life Of Meî sounds like the bluesy Spiritualized of old, just with a guitar-fuelled kick in the ass. Downtempo tracks are in evidence as well: itís not like Pierce has done a bunch of ëroids or something. ìHold Onî is typically epic and ìLord Let It Rain On Meî is just as soul-cleansing as it sounds it would be, with a choral arrangement yet again in effect. Amazing Grace somehow sounds old and new simultaneously and yet remains feeling quintessentially Spiritualized. Itís nice to have them back.
JEREMY P. GOLDSTEIN