Spiritualized - Songs in A&E (4 stars)

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Spiritualized - Songs in A

(Sanctuary)

ROCK

It’s not unfair to say that Jason Pierce has been essentially rewriting the same couple of songs over and over again for the last 20 years. He scratches away inventively at the same formula, much like his much vaunted blues heroes carved out all sorts of vibration and passion from six strings and a hard luck story.

What makes Songs in A&E a great Spiritualized record is that Pierce has written some songs that stick and built around them the huge, glistening arrangements they deserve. His voice is more prominent than ever and the songs withstand the weight of the wall of sound production. It may have been the circumstances behind the record’s genesis – Pierce came close to death after a bout of pneumonia and returned to the fully formed songs two years later to create the versions here – but it sounds grand without ever being particularly laboured.

Jason Pierce has found his voice, taken heed of the devastating effect of his ‘Electric Mainline’ concerts – where he played with a three gospel singers, a string section and a Fender Rhodes for company – and come up with a thick, warm, summery album of blues to savour.

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