As Jason Pierce retires Spiritualized, he certainly takes it out on an excited note. Though this last album plays a lot to the laid-back country overtones of his writing, there’s such a sense of wonder to the music around it that it’s rarely predictable for long. While it does make you wait too long for satisfying moments at certain points, Spiritualized ends on a party here.
The hopeful whimsy of “Perfect Miracle” may borders on cheesy but often shines through with the same brilliant happiness of a good Flaming Lips song. Slow and traditional as its verses may be, they only serve to make its triumphant choruses more exciting. Each bit of brass, synth, strings and harmony grows throughout the track as well to make sure it closes out on a loud and ecstatic note.
As Pierce takes Spiritualized into more downbeat country on “I’m Your Man” there’s truly a sense of pain behind his boisterous productions. It’s his push to make over-the-top production feel fresh again however that gives this song legs. Once Spiritualized hits the right station on “Here It Comes (The Road) Let’s Go” it doesn’t immediately stand to grab listeners beyond its earnest lyrics. This said, the warmth that shines through all the horns and guitars in the chorus more than make up for it.
“Let’s Dance” comes out with a much crisper and almost Christmas-y sound, as it takes a spritely approach to the sonic palette Spiritualized often present. Thankfully Pierce decides to close out the song on such euphoric highs or its later sections could drag easily. Spiritualized hits a moving mix of energies in “On The Sunshine” where growling distortion mixes with twang for something warm and wondrous. While this feeling could easily burn out too fast, Pierce pushes it every which way to keep things going.
Where many of the tracks here seem to add hints of other genres to country, “Damaged” sends the whole band through a wash of colourful psychedelic filters. This energy makes each subsequent section of the song more intriguing as Pierce takes you on a journey. Even as Pierce takes this to a racing pace on ” it just feels a little too typical and familiar as a rock song. Considering its one of the longest tracks on the record, it just doesn’t earn this length.
“The Prize” is certainly leaning to traditional musical themes at this point, and while it feels refreshing for country, it’s otherwise derivative on a lot of fronts. Luckily it taps the right sources to make sure it hits all its emotional moments amazingly. Spiritualized seems to take this feeling somewhere richer on “Sail On Through” for a vibrant and celebratory finale. With bells and bass blasting out, this track closes Pierce’s project triumphantly.
Words by Owen Maxwell