Album: Spiritualized

Let It Come Down, Arista
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The Independent Culture

The cover says it all: not quite a death mask, not quite a bust, just an expressionless head reflecting the essentially numb, narcoticised character of Jason Spaceman's music. For all his claims of spirituality, there's something oddly mechanical and Stepford-like about the music on Let It Come Down, as if it had been made by the pod-people in Invasion of the Body Snatchers. With a vast complement of orchestral players employed to lend depth and texture to the songs, the album extends the epic bliss-rock of Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space in several directions: the timpani and horns of "Do It All Over Again" have an almost Brian Wilsonian grandeur; the Arvo Pärt-ish string tonalities lend melancholy weight to "I Didn't Mean to Hurt You"; and the burnished horns billow around the big, fat fuzz-guitar chords of "Out of Sight". But too often, promising openings are poorly developed through the tedious addition of extra instrumental layers, within which the songs are soon petrified. "There's so little time/ So do something, anything, with your life," Spaceman advises in "Anything More" – good advice, but rarely can a call to creative arms have sounded as flaccid. It's not all that way – there's an appealing garage-punk clangour to "The Twelve Steps" that's like the Stones on steroids – but such isolated moments make little headway against the prevailing tide of draggy, druggy hymnody.

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