Thursday, November 4, 2010

#93 Spiritualized-Lazer Guided Melodies


Artist: Spiritualized
Album: Lazer Guided Melodies
Label: Dedicated
Year: 1993

Oh god what a record. After several astounding 12" singles with Spiritualized in the first few years of the 90s, Jason Pierce released this, their debut album, in 1993. After the soaring highs of Spacemen 3 and the greatness surrounding those 12"s, the fact that this album blows so much of his earlier output out of the water is still astounding.
Originally released as 4 tracks--with several compositions per track, the album truly has a flow to it. The muted "You Know It's True" gives way to the mammoth "If I Were With Her Now" full of lush arrangements and a beautiful organ sound. Whereas on later Spiritualized albums, the instrumentals sometimes go on for too long, it doesn't happen here, and they act as beautiful segues before the next space pop gem.
One of the strengths of the album is still how calmly it moves. They weren't yet making giant, space rock opuses with orchestras and choirs, the band was still in many ways functioning without grandiose means. Yet it still feels like the kind of thing the band could create with hundreds of players at their disposal.
And of course, there are the songs. Whereas the diverse stylings of other Spiritualized releases often come off as disparate, (especially on Let It Come Down) all of the songs work together beautifully, whether the brief and subdued "Smiles" or the brilliant, career defining "Shine A Light."
Spiritualized remain one of my favorite bands ever, and they have another album that will be on this list that is perfect. Yet most days, I find myself reaching for Lazer Guided Melodies before any of their other albums, and maybe it shows J. Spaceman doesn't have to hard as he does...and he could still release something sublime.

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