"I think I'll drink myself into a coma/And I'll take every way out I can find/But morphine, codeine, whiskey they won't alter/The way I feel now death is not around." Those lines, from Spiritualized's latest, Songs in A & E, pretty well sum up the two topics England's most heralded space-rock band has somehow gloriously covered since its acclaimed 1992 debut, Lazer Guided Melodies: heartache and heroin. Forming Spiritualized from the remains of the legendary Spacemen 3 (and keeping the flame of that group's motto, "Taking drugs to make music to take drugs to"), singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Jason Pierce — the band's only constant member — has spent the better part of two decades displaying his singular talent for being simultaneously depressing and uplifting. Spiritualized's albums are quasi-symphonic epics of hope, despair and addiction that utilize a kind of lush Phil Spector-like production and at times sound like the Velvet Underground as played by heartbroken aliens on oxycodone. Songs in A & E is no different (the twelve-member choir is a nice touch), but the act's concerts (which are huge spiritual experiences indeed) are the real treat.
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