Published Sep 04, 2018Jason Pierce can't seem to make an album these days without suffering some major setback. For almost 30 years now the man they call Spaceman has built painstaking, enormous, space rock symphonies — but most often with a few snags along the way. The last two Spiritualized albums were delayed due to serious health scares; his latest effort was briefly held captive by a producer, then entirely scrapped by Pierce, who rebuilt it from scratch with no budget to work with.
Six years in the making, And Nothing Hurt is yet another testament to Pierce's well documented rep as an obsessive workhorse. With financial constraints, he was unable to afford the orchestral assistance he's received in the past. Instead, he had to figure it all out on his own, using his laptop and old records to sample.
Almost everything you hear on this eighth studio album of his was achieved in a completely new and unfamiliar process, but you'd be hard-pressed to hear the differences. Lead track "Perfect Miracle" introduces itself as a meek ukulele-led love song, only to blossom into the kind of baroque arrangement we've come to expect over the years. "Let's Dance" is more ballroom than dance floor; with its shuffling percussion and starry-eyed invitation ("Hold my hand a while / We'll go out in style / And dance"), Pierce ends things by shooting it out into orbit.
While it's a mostly subdued record, Pierce puts his Telecaster to work on a couple of adrenaline pumpers like "On the Sunshine" and "The Morning After," which climax with fits of free jazz madness. Still, he opts to close things out with a couple of inspirational hymns, "The Prize" and "Sail On Through," both of which could slip into your Sunday church service without question.
Pierce has discussed the possibility that And Nothing Hurt could end up being Spiritualized's swan song. If that's the case, he'll be going out on a high note, because this is but another stroke of genius in a career full of them.
Pre-order And Nothing Hurt on standard black and deluxe orange vinyl via MusicVaultz. (Fat Possum)