This is the first Spiritualized b-sides/rarities album, and has been worth the wait. This album covers the period of their first two albums (the amazing debut 'Lazer Guided Melodies' and the fantastic 'Pure Phase'), 1990 to 1993. The first track is the first Spirtualized single, 'Anyway That You Want Me' a cover of a 1967 Troggs single. It is startling - the trademark sound of Spiritualized is quickly established, and it is interesting to note that this was recorded when Spacemen Three were still together. The album is made up of two discs, and other highlights of the first disc include THREE(!!!) versions of Feel So Sad, Run and Sway, which is especially brilliant. The second disc starts with 100 Bars (Accapella), which is a bit dull unless you like the sound of Kate Radley counting to 100. 'I Want You' is moving, but Medication (from 'Medication' EP)is powerful and perhaps better than the version on Pure Phase. 'Smiles', from the same EP, is suberb, as it starts ominously with some fuzz, then Pierce enters the fray briefly, stating "When you smile you are blinded to all the horrors I see" then the songs becomes a superb instumtmental, with great drums. Other highlights include the glorious pop of 'Good Dope/Good Fun' and 'Good Times'. This album is on the whole very interesting, and makes you want to delve more deeply into the history of one of the best bands of the last ten years. Roll on Volume Two, out later this year.
If you love Spiritualized, but haven't been able to get hold of some of the rare early material, this perfectly packaged album is just lovely. It comes in a plain, white plastic case with a cardboard outer cover, and over 2 CDs covers some classic, simple Spiritualized music. Some of the songs are different (often better) versions of songs that appear elsewhere - Angel Sigh, Medication, Smiles - but many are B sides and rarities that are nigh on impossible to get hold of these days. Personal favourites include Anyway That You Want Me, a gorgeous Troggs cover that sweeps towards an irresistable finish, as Spiritualized songs often do, and Why Don't You Smile Now?, a Lou Reed cover, I think, and another example of the stuff that came out when Spaceman 3 split. Then there is the beautiful Feel So Sad, three version of which appear here, every one offering something slightly different (though possibly only to the die hard fan). Basically, it's a double album that proves just how raw and powerful they were back then (the collection covers songs up to Pure Phase, their second album), how great they still are live and how they mix the most tender songs with the most ear-splitting, crashing messy bits so brilliantly. Possibly there are some needless instrumental bits, but I reckon we can live with these. Splendid.
More accurately The Complete Works Excluding Album Tracks And With Some Omissions, this limited edition release is nonetheless a marvellous collection of rare singles, EPs, promo recordings, flexi-discs, fan club exclusives and a complete John Peel session, all in pristine CD quality (even when one track had to be mastered directly from a flexi-disc as the original acetate master had been destroyed). A few B-sides are missing - yet the 7 minute B-side version of Sway taking up valuable space turns out disappointingly to be identical to the readily-available LP version. Nevertheless, it is a worthy endeavour to make the bulk of one's catalogue available on CD and the two discs have been sympathetically programmed
Hard to believe that the material on this CD was written over ten years ago - there is still nothing around that sounds quite like them. Grunge, britpop, nu-metal have all come (and mostly gone) in the meantime, while Spiritualized continue to progress along their space-rock odyssey. Far from the standard 'Greatest Hits' packages, this CD collects various early singles, alternate versions, and other hard-to-find tracks, and as such, it is probably one for the fans - recent converts would probably be better off with the studio albums. This approach manages to combine nostalgia trips - I seem to remember exactly what I was doing when 'medication' came out with some unexpected treats. While it does not hang together in the same way as, for example. 'Ladies and Gentlemen..', the often unexpected choice of tracks makes up for this lack of coherence. I remember an NME interview with Jason back when 'Lazer Guided Melodies' came out, saying that when he listened to that album, he heard melodies that he didn't remember playing, that ghosted into the process - which captures the elusive essence of many of these tunes. And, having said that this is one for the faithful, 'Feel so sad' will still melt the heart of even the most casual listener..
There's bound to be some track versions on this album that you haven't got even if, like me, you've been a pretty ardent fan for a long, long time. This album is really for the purists who want to be able to follow the development of some of Jason's material and with multiple versions of multiple tracks it does just that. I have to say however, that even the three versions of Feel So Sad are different enough to justifiably call them different songs completely. There are some crackers in here, like the "resonably hard to get hold of" Any Way That You Want Me (Spiritualized's first single) and the Good Dope/Good Fun version of Lay Back In The Sun (from the Greenpeace 7" single) that's followed by the Electric Mainline version of Lay Back In The Sun. If you're a fan, buy it. If you don't own any Spiritualized music yet, then start with the albums - you'll appreciate this much more. By the way - the only reason this doesn't get a five is that I listen to music a lot at work on a pc. The cd's making up this album have a player installed on them that you have to use. (You can't use Real or WM to play it.) This wouldn't be so bad if the player was of any quality, but it's not. It sounds tinny and cheap. Spiritualized (especially anything off LGM) definitely benefits from good quality sound equipment - and this little player doesn't do it justice. Shame on Jason for letting this happen.
I have all the studio /live albums they are all superb. So why buy this one? A few of the singles offer different versions and there are a few non album tracks. But the selling point for me is the single version of Medication. It is the biz. Obviously I didn't pay full price for it . if you are a collector or completion it's worth hunting down.
This compilation takes in the period from Spiritualized's inception with their Troggs cover Anyway That You Want Me to 1993's Electric Mainline ep (shortly before they became the unintentionally hilarious Electric Mainline for a bit). This first volume is excellent for the fans Spiritualized have gained since Ladies&Gentlemen...& Let it All Come Down- as all of these singles are deleted. Initially Spiritualized were a side-project to Jason Pierce's previous band Spacemen 3- Pierce with then girlfriend Kate Radley & a few members of Spacemen 3 cut a single that covered The Troggs Anyway That You Want Me & a two part original Step Into the Breeze. Anyway...is gorgeous stuff- though it is not made clear here if this is the extended take with Sympathy for the Devil whoops; while it is far from complete- as there was a 12" single of Anyway which had a great demo and several remixes: none are here. Pierce returned to Spacemen 3- though their 1988 album Playing with Fire had seen Pierce and co-member Sonic Boom record their material seperately. Spacemen 3's Recurring album, recorded with many members of the 1990 Spiritualized and members of The Jazz Butcher, was split into two halves: Sonic Boom's adventerous side (the dance-trance of Big City, the baggy drone of I Love You & a great cover of Mudhoney's When Tomorrow Hits) & a slightly dull side from Pierce. Perhaps he was saving himself for Spiritualized?- as the only decent track was 1989's single Hypnotized. One of the tracks from Recurring became Spiritualized's second single, Pierce having officially left Spacemen 3 in 1991; Feel So Sad is epic, OTT stuff: very much in debt to Amazing Grace (which Spiritualized would later cover). Approaching 15 minutes it sits well next to the prog-ish sounds of Bark Psychosis' Scum or Talk Talk's Laughing Stock. The 'Glides & Chimes' reprise is a bit superflous though...The next single was more commercial, though the Run/I Want You ep is not presented in order here: the former milks JJ Cale's Call Me the Breeze (& to a lesser extent the Velvets Run Run Run), while the latter is a bit too close to U2's Where the Streets Have No Name. Both of these songs would be rerecorded for Lazer Guided Melodies (1992)...The next single was a double-a-side: the acoustic-whirlpool of Sway (excellent, again rerecorded for LGM) and an early Lou Reed/John Cale composed song Why Don't You Smile Now? (from The Primitives, pre-Velvets): one of the best reasons to buy this two disc compilation. The compilation breaks off for the LGM-era- though there is the anomalie 100 Bars (an early take of LGM's 200 Bars). A highlight is the post LGM-single Medication- one that came with a variety of tracks spread over the multiple formats (alongside a personnel change). Thus we get BBC session takes of Feels So Sad & Angel Sigh & the definitive take on Smiles (the set-closer for a long time) from the red vinyl 7" of Medication. Medication itself remains one of Pierce's finest songs- though has surfaced on several live releases (Royal Albert Hall, Let it Flow, F**ked Up Inside) & was eventually rerecorded for 1995's Pure Phase (the best version). The final source of tracks stem from 1993's Electric Mainline phase- an early take of Lay Back in the Sun, then titled Good Dope/Good Fun is a highlight. Good Times is a bit too close to Give Out- Primal Scream (both bands were Depeche Mode stadium supports, though Spiritualized were bottled off after a few dates)- the later Pure Phase-take has a great harmonica sound. We get the two part Electric Mainline, which shows the ambient-electronica side of Pierce: this is up there with Warp acts like Aphex Twin & Autechre. This collection is excellent value and should be illuminating for more recent fans, plus the art work is up to the usual high standard. It's not quite the complete picture though & there is a lot of repetition- many of these tracks have been re-recorded or presented on live releases. Add to that Pierce is still rerecording old Spacemen 3 songs, Pure Phase having So Hot from 1988 on it & Let it All Come Down having 88's Lord, Can You hear Me? on it. So at least this comes from a period when Spiritualized weren't a bombastic tribute to Spacemen 3...If people like this, they ought to check out Sonic Boom's Spectrum project. Or albums like Hex, Rain Tree Crow & Loveless.
it's hard to believe that the earliest tunes on this compilation came out over ten years ago. Grunge, brit-pop and any other movement you care to name have come and gone since while Spiritualized continue to build their drugged-out space-scapes, defying classification while making some of the best albums of the past decade. this compilation consists of alternative versions (some previously unreleased) of tunes that appear on 'lazer guided melodies', and the single versions of other early releases. As such, it's probably one for the fans rather than casual listeners. Although having said this, you would have to have a heart of stone not to have it melted by 'feel so sad'...
Its been a long strange trip, as any of J Spaceman's cohorts, fans, observers and devotees will tell you...and here it is, in it's early stages. From liftoff, the nucleus of Spiritualized create a blueprint for their unique sound with a glistening cover of The Troggs "AnyWay That You Want Me", a sort of blissed-out chug that manages to be simultaneously lachrymose and euphoric at the same time - a quality that would go on to define the Spiritualized sound. While the rest of the UK music scene was getting caught up in the 'shoegazing' FX wash peddled by Ride, Chapterhouse, Slowdive etc etc, Spiritualized stuck to their guns and produced their debut LP "Lazer Guided Melodies", a beautiful collection, riddled in torpor but bathed in sunlight. Many of the LP's finer cuts are aired here, along with the spin off EPs and singles which came out at the time. Pretty much anything the band did at this time was golden. Later Pierce would disavow this part of the bands history, for not having had sufficient control over the musicians. This attitude, typical of Pierce's almost obsessive need for control does a great disservice to the players on these records. To my mind, this is simply the best LP the group cut, despite the belated press hoo-ha following 1997's "Ladies And Gentlemen..." album. The follow-up, "Pure Phase", concentrated more on texture, delving deep into sound features the astonishing "Medication" - a simple chord structure (mirroring the VU's "Heroin") but amp-ed up to the max and featuring a rolling blaring crescendo that left you breathless. From this moment, Spiritualized claimed the outer reaches of sound as their own, from the most delicate melodic chimes to a torrential downpour of pure sound - and all phases between. This collection takes us up to the mid 90s. After "Pure Phase" came the breakthrough smash "Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space". Pierce's girlfriend, the bands keyboardist Kate Radley, deserted him for The Verve's Richard Ashcroft, and Pierce, following in the footsteps of Dylan's 'Blood On The Tracks', Joni Mitchell's 'Blue', made a raw aching lost-love masterpiece. But that's another, equally fascinating story, no doubt qualifying 'Complete Works Pt.2". In the meantime, lay back in the sun, choose your medication and smile...
Spiritualized became critical darlings with 'Ladies and Gentlemen we are Floating in Space', an album that contained at least as much howling and thrashing as it did trancey calm, but in their earlier years the emphasis was very much on the floaty and the mellow. The music on CDs is often in no hurry to go anywhere, though 'Run', 'I Want You', 'Medication' and 'Good Times' have a good degree of propulsion behind them, and the suspicion that Jason Pierce's inspiration was narcotic in nature becomes a certainty somewhere between Parts 1 and 2 of 'Electric Mainline'. What saves the music from being amorphous wallpaper is the intricacy of the arrangements and the beauty of the melodies, especially on early triumph 'Feel So Sad' which is included here in several very different versions. Put these CDs on, switch on your lava lamp and drift away to somewhere else where things happen very slowly.