Spiritualized: Amazing Grace (20th Anniversary Reissue) (Fat Possum) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Friday, March 1st, 2024  

Spiritualized

Amazing Grace (20th Anniversary Reissue)

Fat Possum

Feb 08, 2024 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Back in 2003, especially coming after Spiritualized’s dual masterpieces of 2001’s Let It Come Down and 1997’s breakthrough Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating in Space, Amazing Grace felt like a bit of a letdown. Gone, by and large, were the grand, sweeping orchestral grandeur of those albums, the modern day Phil Spector wall of sound replaced by what was, especially by comparison, a stripped-down rock and roll record clearly inspired by some of the bands who Spiritualized and Jason “Spaceman” Pierce’s previous band Spacemen 3 had clearly influenced (Black Rebel Motorcycle Club most prominently, but others as well). At least that’s what the story was then, but time has thankfully shown how wrong that initial perception was.

Two decades later, Amazing Grace sounds like both a logical turnabout from their two previous albums and it’s also aged wonderfully. The Spector/Crystals baiting title “She Kissed Me (It Felt Like a Hit)” on side one is the clear and immediate standout, but that’s not the only place where this album’s charms lie. The gospel-tinged “Lord Let It Rain on Me’’ is like a slightly more refined version of a song that could’ve been on their previous albums, while “The Ballad of Richie Lee” pays loving tribute to the fallen Acetone singer and former labelmate of Spiritualized on Vernon Yard who had passed away just two years prior to this album’s release.

That also leads to another little-acknowledged fact about Amazing Grace. While it’s not only stripped-down in terms of sound, but also in length—coming in at 42 minutes compared to the 63 minutes that Let It Come Down clocked in at—it’s not just a ferocious garage rock album. Sure, there is the T. Rex nod in “Cheapster,” but a good chunk of it is also slow, moody, and atmospheric, culminating in the album’s closer, “Lay It Down Slow.” Thus, that ensures that nothing here is formulaic, generic, or similar-sounding.

This brand new reissue is on a variety of vinyl colors, the dove grey I got being quite nice, and more importantly, the sound is spectacular on here, really showcasing this album’s sonic goodness and easily besting the CD I bought on release day in 2003. (www.spiritualized.com)

Author rating: 8.5/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10



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