Whenever an artist looks back to a high point in his or her catalogue for inspiration in building a new work, it's typically "uh-oh" time. (What up these days, Aerosmith?) So it was reason for concern when Spiritualized main man Jason Pierce said he was illuminated creatively by a recent string of live performances featuring the 1997 masterwork Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space
. Surprisingly, though, the ever-solid dreamy UK outfit end up delivering with a poppier than usual exploration of the space-rock side of shoegaze. There's some obligatory Velvet Underground deference, like the jumpy "Hey Jane," but for the most part the new disc is more in line with the soaring sing-a-long brilliance of "So Long You Pretty Things" and the simplistic "Too Late." The gospel singers backing up the jazz-inflected "I Am What I Am" are a nice touch too, complementing the hazy landscape. But take this review with a grain of salt, since Pierce recently pushed back the actual release of Sweet Heart Sweet Light
a month to tinker with it some more, despite the fact that review copies were already sent out (his response to the press about the press: "Sometimes it's like they've got a different album anyway"). For a guy who prefers to go by the name J. Spaceman, anything less would be a disappointment.
SPIRITUALIZED | Paradise Rock Club, 967 Comm Ave, Boston | May 9 @ 7 pm | 18+ | $22 | 617.562.8800