16 of 34 people found the following review helpful
It has grace, but it's not amazing,
This review is from: Amazing Grace (OLD VERSION) (Audio CD)
Things have been moving fast in the world of rock and roll in the past two years. First there was the emergence of a new breed of rock and rollers with a firm eye on the past (The Strokes and The White Stripes). Then we saw the return of old favourites in fine form (Primal Scream and Ian Brown). Jason Pierce, with Spiritualized, now falls in between these two camps: he is an old timer with rock sensibilities ignited by the new vanguard.
The last album – ‘Let it Come Down’ – was an adventure in crisp studio production and fine musicianship. As good as it was, Rock and Roll it wasn’t. Here, on the new album Jason Pierce is looking to get back to basics. He has been listening to bands like The White Stripes and admires their rudimentary technique. He has even got Jack White’s mates The Soledad Brothers supporting Spiritualized on the forthcoming UK tour.
So, we have an album of classic rock music then, in the vein of ‘Electricity’ or ‘These Blues’? The answer is not quite. Sure there are the loud guitars, and even louder vocals. There is swagger and anger, religion and drugs. But despite the occasional outing into blues-based rock (opener ‘This Little Light of Mine’, and ‘Cheapster’), the album contains more orchestra-led ballads much like those on ‘Let it Come Down’.
Despite this, Pierce is more confrontational than he has been on previous releases. One of the album’s highlights is the magnificent ‘Lord, Let it Rain Down’ – a powerful gospel song with a clear question to Jesus: “when you coming down again?” This is a more direct assault than on ‘Lord Can You Hear Me?’ from the last album.
The trouble with Spiritualized is that you feel like they should be doing either big rock tracks, or soft, trippy, ambient ones, not both. The only time both approaches worked was on their masterpiece album, ‘Ladies and Gentleman…’ Here you feel that the rock songs are too harsh and forced, and the ballads tend to feel a bit sorry for themselves.
It’s fine to find inspiration in The New, even if it harks back to The Past. However, if you’ve been there and done it why not move on to new things? Jason Pierce will not get back the energy and abandonment he displayed on his work with Spaceman 3 so is it wise for him to try, even if he does like what’s coming out of Detroit now? This album is best when it’s at it’s most honest, and unfortunately for some, this means a sound more like their last album than anything before it.