on 13 June 2012
With the original version of the title track reinstated a nicer cut into 'come together' & the 13 secs of silence at the end of 'cop shoot cop' removed (spacemen had this inserted on the original to allow for the time difference between the two versions of the title track - thereby keeping the discs running time at an exact 74 mins!) this is a blissful rendering of one of the greatest albums of the 90's. Cant help falling in love indeed...
on 27 April 2003
I first heard of Spiritualized in 2001 when Let It Come Down was released. I kept an ear out for them, and decided to fine out more about them. I trawled through the music magazines I had, and Spiritualized had a reputation. This album, my first Spiritualized one, simply blew me away. It's immense sonic clarity, it's diverse changes and form showed me the effects one man's vision can have on music.
Jason Pierce is a complete genius, although a not entirely happy one at that. This album was recorded at a time of great personal strife for Jason - the band were slowly imploding, and his relationship with Kate Radley, who was the Spiritualized keyboardist, had ended with her marrying Richard Ashcroft. This is regularly seen as one of the great 'break up'albums(the media interpreted the album as a lovelorn, drug addled note to Kate Radley)but Pierce rejects this, believing it to be more than that, and he is right - but it easy to interpret songs like 'Broken Heart' with lyrics of wanting to get wasted in order to get rid of the pain, as a sign of a troubled man. The break up, coupled with a mild heroin addiction, do leave their mark on this album.
Anyway, what matters are the songs, and this albums has them in quality and quantity - the album is nigh on 70 minutes long. The title track is heartmelting in it's multi-layered vocals, but the original version, with lines lifted from an Elvis song, and a a gospel choir is perhaps even more fantastic (Jason had to to rerecord the track due to the Elvis estate). 'Come Together' is a great slice of ragga rock, with its lyrics that combine two of Pierce's staples - god and drugs - he often fails to see the differnce between the two. 'I think i'm in love' is basically two great songs in one. 'All of My Thoughts' and 'Stay With Me' carry on the baton until 'Electricity' storms in. 'Broken Heart' is sandwiched by two free jazz songs, but it provides the calm in the storm. It is a great track, with simply outstanding strings - it make you feel thatlove can be redemptive. 'Cool Waves' is a gospel led treatise on love, and then there is the final track, the absolutely epic 'Cop Shoot Cop...' which is an sixteen minute observation of Pierces mind. The whole album is a vision by Jason Pierce, and the mixing reportedly took almost as long as the recording, but it was worth the hassle. I truly believe this is one of the great albums, but is does require patience - give it time, and you will think it is great.
Soundscape might seem like a strange word to use to describe this album - it's not an Eno-esque ambient constellation, but is clearly structured into twelve songs - yet its blending of the ends/beginnings of songs, its far from arbitrary choice of track listing, the fact that the songs work much better in the context of the rest of the album, and even the artwork/packaging make it so much more than just your standard avant garde rock affair.
This was the album that got me into Spiritualized back in 1997, but it also blew my musical world apart, sending me searching in so many directions for something that could live up to this masterpiece (I think the closest i've got to finding it is Khonnor's 'Handwriting').
From the blissful lazy elegance of the opening (and title) track, through the more standard rock of Come Together and Electricity, to the hazy broken jazz of The Individual, via the tear jerking Broken Heart before the 16 minute finale that is Cop Shoot Cop, every minute is a journey; every moment is perfect.
This kind of record emerges once every generation. Jason Pierce has taken Spiritualized in different directions since, probably because he realised that this record could never be matched and he didn't want to taint it by trying.
on 16 April 2006
Recently rediscovered this album after listening to it a lot in 97/98. Better than I remembered it - life isn't usually like this!
It takes you through absolute highs from the spacey 'Cool Waves' to base lows of stringed fantismo 'Broken Heart' (which is my at-the-moment favourite song - listened to it about 15 times in the last 3 weeks).
The eponymous opening track just builds and builds like a 20th century pachalbel's canon (in fact I think it must be based on it) and the lyric is beautiful. The whole album is great and I enjoy each song individually and together. It is really clever and textual music with many layers - sometimes I hate it when music is too clever but not in this case!
The influences are diverse (classical, blues, gospel)and you hear something new every time that you listen to it.
Can you tell that I really like it?
on 23 January 2000
More trance rock from spiritualized but with a more expansive and experimental feel than their previous albums. Jason (spaceman) pierce's lyrics are very honest and open whether dealing with love ,drugs or both. The music is excellent, never too extravagent or indulgent (except maybe on the individual, a hard song to listen to)and always interesting. Often each track simply fades into the next and consequently it is better to hear the album in one go. There are few weak tracks but my favourites are the rocky 'come together' and the perfect 'cool waves' where jasons cracked vocals and the sound of the london community gospel choir produce one of the most beautiful sounds i have heard for a long while. Most enjoyable of all is that this album proves that good music is still being made in the UK despite the consumerism of boy bands and the dullness of supposedly credible acts such as 'The Stereophonics' and 'Oasis'. Buy this album now!
on 4 November 2002
This album is already over 5 years old, but a recent listen confirms it's utter timelessness. I hesitate to describe it as "classic", but that is exactly what it is. Take the title track - spaced out synths, warm overlapped choral vocals building up to cresendos of orchestral beauty...based (roughly) on 'Can't Help Fallin' In Love' and all the better for it. 'Come Together' sounds like Plastic Ono Band jamming with the Velvets circa 1968 except produced to a startling hallucinogenic clarity - choirs, horns, feedback and it keeps going, relentlessly.
'I Think I'm In Love' sounds like it should, warm, kaleidoscopic, spaced and cold all at once. It draws you in on beautifully phased out bass, string washes and echoed slide guitar and spits you out bolted on to a mad, funky motorik groove, leaving you reeling at the exquisitely layered instrumentation, fantastic call-and-response vocals, and those amazing horns...
The first three tracks alone wipe the floor with most other music made in the last 10 years. Here the feeling is soulful and bluesy, yet glossed with an intricate, layered and evolving porduction. Crazed explosions of overdriven guitar play against big band instrumentation. Detroit garage on a Sun-Ra trip as if produced by Apollo-era Eno, with much emphasis on electric jazz, classical and systems musics made frequently. The LP is a complete trip in a literal sense, the senses being overloaded with the BIG themes and issues, life, love, death and how to use the time between. You'll encounter the rumbling far-in/out noise of 'The Individual', the heartbreaking beauty of 'Stay With Me' and 'Cool Waves', and often both in the same song ('Cop Shoot Cop...'). It gets better every time you listen to it, so the full five stars, whatever that means.
There's not enough enough stars in the galaxy.
Buy this baby and get a comfortable chair and a good stereo - you're going somewhere else.
on 7 July 2006
Lower the lights, get in your favourite chair and turn up the volume; you're in for a sonic treat. You really will feel like you are floating in space. I fell in love with this album on my very first listen, just 4 days ago, and I've listened to nothing else since. There aren't words to describe the beauty of this music. The perfect tone and pitch of Pierce's voice, the light, feathery touches of the piano, the swing of the brass and harmonica, the sweeping strings and the truly magnificent choirs. I really cannot find the words to tell you how this album makes me feel. And as if the imagery of the music wasn't enough, there are the stark lyrics of naked emotion. "All I want in life's a little bit of love to take the pain away". Perfect, says what it means. I was sold on the very first track; the overlapping vocal lines, the electric piano setting the mood in the background, building with layer upon layer until the brass thunders in from nowhere, sweeping you up and leaving the ground behind you. Buy it.
Note: The reviewers who claimed not to like the soundscapes on this album would probably have a stroke if they ever heard Radiohead's "Kid A".
on 16 May 2003
Well I could go on about individual tracks and diversity and being taken on a journey of sound.
However words will not do this record justice, it came out in 97 along with albums such as "Urban Hymns" and "O.K. Computer". Probably one of the most important years in the history of British music if we are talking about quality albums.
Ladies and Gentlemen is a must for any record collection, J. Spaceman proves he is the heavyweight champion of the world. Dismiss this record at your peril.
on 22 July 2013
Wonderful album, one of those that's like a concerto; to be listened to in one sitting, with an eclectic range of styles throughout.
Also each and every track stands up as outstanding individually and will enhance any compilation or playlist.
Best album Spiritualized have done but try "Songs in A & E" if you want more
on 22 June 2014
It's not an everyday occurence that I put an album in my personal top 50, but have done so with Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space. I wonder how this record has eluded my attention for so long; still a classic as far as I am concerned.