Spiritualized, Sweet Heart Sweet Light
A glorious sigh of relief
Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space is undoubtedly Jason Pierce’s masterwork, but that hasn’t stopped him from trying to top it from a variety of quixotic angles — witness the orchestral overkill of Let It Come Down, Amazing Grace‘s fairly unconvincing garage-rock rebranding, and Songs In A&E trying to micromanage spiritual epiphanies. Fortunately, Sweet Heart Sweet Light is a record that feels like a sigh of relief, his least labored since Ladies and also the best since then. As you might be able to tell from the fact that two of its fantastic songs are titled “Hey Jane” and “Mary,” and a song that begins “My mother said/ When she was so concerned/ Don’t play with fire and you’ll never get burned,” this is quintessential Pierce, redemption rendered in seven-minute epics with bombastic string arrangements, gospel choirs, and the most transparent Velvet Underground references possible right alongside instantly memorable melodies. The glorious thing about Sweet Heart is how colorful, portable and manageable it is — every bit as skyscraping as Ladies And Gentlemen but nearly a half hour shorter, it’s the closest thing to a Spiritualized “pop album” and subsequently one of the best of 2012 thus far.