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Songs in A&E

Studio Album by released in 2008
Songs in A&E's tracklist:
Harmony 1 (Mellotron)
Sweet Talk
Death Take Your Fiddle
I Gotta Fire
Soul on Fire
Harmony 2 (Piano)
Sitting on Fire
Yeah Yeah
You Lie You Cheat
Harmony 3 (Voice)
Baby I'm Just a Fool
Don't Hold Me Close
Harmony 4 (The Old Man...)
The Waves Crash In
Harmony 5 (Accordion)
Borrowed Your Gun
Harmony 6 (Glockenspiel)
Goodnight Goodnight

Songs in A&E review

Spiritualized always sounded recognizable

British band Spiritualized has a pretty stable and weighty reputation among admirers of so-called space-rock or saying it in a more definite way among those who love music in which such things as sonic space and meditative atmosphere stand as the basic elements. Regardless that fact that the band's line-up was constantly changing Spiritualized always sounded quite recognizable. It is simply impossible to mix up that unique combination of psychedelia and garge rock represented on any of their albums with anything else. Recognizability, as a matter of fact, is a very important thing for any band; it demands deep understanding of what the band wants and where it is moving. Luckily, Spiritualized's "compass" and unchallenged leader Jason Pierce, who actually is the sole permanent member, was always pointing to the right direction. The career of Spiritualized was pretty successful since the day the band was formed in 1990. They issued five full-fledged albums, each time receiving a lot of favorable responses. This year Spiritualized released their new record called Songs In A&E, which became their first album for the last five years.

New vision of the world

Initially, Songs In A&E was intended to be recorded quickly, without delays and other things like that. However, the process was tragically interrupted in 2005 by a serious illness of Jason Pierce – a grave form of pneumonia has literally put him on the edge between life and death. Luckily, he managed to cope with it and after leaving hospital was ready to proceed with the album. But this experience of life-and-death struggle has changed his view upon things and as a result his approach to his songs. By that time the majority of new songs for the album has already been composed, yet Pierce decided to get back to them and rearrange this material in accordance with his new visions of the world. Finally, after two years of work, he managed to achieve a pretty impressive result, which probably stands as a culmination of his creative activity, at least in the sense of emotionality and feel. Of course, it would be wrong to say that his experience of clinical death and rehabilitation period became the basis of this album but they definitely helped Pierce to shape its sound and emotions.

Songs In A&E is laced with emotions

As it was said earlier, Spiritualized always sounded recognizable even despite some drastic changes of their sound. Actually Songs In A&E sounds follows this tradition. Stylistically the album crossbreeds blues, gospel, folk, psychedelia and garage rock – that is almost everything Spiritualized have used on any of their previous records. But its inner emotional mood makes it sound really different. It becomes clear that Spiritualized have changed from the very first seconds of the record. Unhurried tempo, divinely inspired backing vocals, transparent keyboard background and minimal presence of rhythm section – all these traits are typical not only for the first song Sweet Talk but for many other tracks represented here. However, the album also has a different side, which is far more explosive and energetic. It reveals itself here and there, spilling out like an unrestrained element. Such tracks as Yeah Yeah or You Lie You Cheat reflect this feeling in the brightest possible way. Generally speaking, the album as such is built on usage of contrasts. That is when initially quiet song gradually turns into something very pompous (Soul On Fire, The Waves Crash) and sometimes even cacophonic (Baby I'm Just A Fool) but it is always followed by a restrained and peaceful theme. Overall, Songs In A&E is a pretty ambiguous record. It is laced with a wide range of emotions that create a really important background for these songs but it is still hard to say that the album is something outstanding in a musical sense. So if the sensual aspect plays an important role for you than this album will diffidently suit you, the more so because Songs In A&E is probably one of the best records Spiritualized have ever released.

Max Rodrigues (11.06.2008)
Rate review4.00
Total votes - 3


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