The 15th Anniversary: Spiritualized’s “Let It Come Down”

Celebrating Under the Radar's 15th Anniversary and the Best Albums of 2001

Dec 15, 2016 Bookmark and Share


Under the Radar's very first print issue came out in December 2001. In honor of our 15th Anniversary some of our writers are reflecting on some of their favorite albums from 2001, that are also celebrating their 15th anniversary.

After the critical and commercial success of their breakthrough album Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space, Spiritualized leader Jason Pierce fired and replaced his entire band and took four years to follow it up. The result was another absolute masterpiece and one that matches its predecessor as some of Spiritualized's finest work. The album is unusual for Spiritualized, since it's an orchestral work, utilizing 115 musicians, but when Pierce opens his mouth and his understated yet very affecting vocals kick in, there's no doubt that this is his record. Released in the U.S. exactly a week after 9/11 (and in the U.K. a day earlier), the album seemed to knowingly soundtrack the sadness and confusion that reigned supreme that fall. Several of the songs ("The Twelve Steps" and "The Straight and the Narrow" among them) tackle addiction with the latter song being one of the album's best. The album's real showstopper, though, is "Out of Sight," a six-minute plus opus that may be Spiritualized's finest recorded moment. The influence of Phil Spector and his wall-of-sound recording technique is in full bloom here with Pierce's vocals seeming to soar into the stratosphere towards the latter half of the song. Elsewhere, romantic pleas abound on songs such as "I Didn't Mean to Hurt You" and "Stop Your Crying" while the album closes with a re-recording of his previous band Spacemen 3's "Lord Can You Hear Me." The re-recording was inspired by Low's then recent cover and fittingly, Mimi Parker appears on Spiritualized's version as a backing vocalist. Overall, Spiritualized has made some very good records in the 15 intervening years since this album was released, but have never come close to this kind of ambition. It's perhaps fitting that Pierce knew that he couldn't top himself, so his next effort was 2003's much more stripped-down and garage-rock inspired Amazing Grace. The truly amazing 2000s Spiritualized album is this one, though.

 



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