Spiritualized - Amazing Grace
Somewhat overlooked at the time, Amazing Grace is possibly the heaviest and most intimate Spiritualized record. A wild collection of blazing garage rock songs and beautifully tender, sometimes devastatingly sad, ballads. They are songs that reach for help from a broken place, ragged and lonely, in love with a world hanging by a thread. The feeling of the gospel standard that inspired the title – “through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come” – hangs like a shadow over the whole record, and J Spaceman’s heart and soul lies very close to the microphone.
Absolute nihilism bleeds through the opening song “This Little Life of Mine”: “This little life of mine / I’m gonna let it slide / I’m gonna let it burn / I’m getting sick of trying.” In “The Ballad of Richie Lee”, a lament to the late Acetone singer, we have maybe the most brutally sad moment of the entire Spiritualized catalog: “He’s got his name on a rock again / And this time it’s the last”.
Then, out of the blackest nights of the soul, beautiful hymns appear, odes to falling in love and staying in love. Songs like “Hold On”, “Oh Baby” and “Rated X” where we “Put your hand in my hand and maybe we’ll forget / That life had even started before the day we met.”
The recording of Amazing Grace was fast and experimental, executed in three weeks at Rockfield Studios in Wales. Spaceman would present the band with an idea for each song on the day of recording, and they would experiment until it felt right. The core musicians,John Coxon, Tony Foster and Tim Lewis were players au fait with the abstract and experimental, finding the sweet spots where The Stooges meet Arvo Part, where Patsy Cline meets 13th Floor Elevators and Aretha Franklin is down with Miles Davis’ Get Up With It. The result of this method is a polar opposite to the symphonic grandeur of its predecessor Let It Come Down but more powerful in its emotional impact.
Release Date: 19th January 2024
Format: LP or CD
Label: Fat Possum
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