Back in 2001 when I was writing music criticism for the Local Planet, my editor gave me a copy of Spiritualized’s Let It Come Down. He didn’t necessarily want me to review it; he just wanted to know what I thought. If I remember right, I ended up including the album in my year-end best-of list. (Trying to be clever, I wrote something about how it sounded like a cross between 1970s-era Pink Floyd and the Hezekiah Walker Love Fellowship Choir. It really doesn’t.)
I still have that CD—and a whole lot more from Spiritualized that I’ve picked up in the years since. And while I wholeheartedly recommend Let It Come Down, I’d rather you started with the band’s 1997 masterpiece: Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space. Pitchfork does a nice job explaining why:
Bolder than the term Britpop might suggest, more focused than the term psychedelic might imply, Ladies and Gentlemen is one of the great triumphs of the 70-plus-minute CD era. Alternately chaotic and meticulous, thundering and quivering, Ladies and Gentlemen finds power in conflict—between restraint and excess, addiction and isolation, and ultimately, love and hate.
For some reason I dusted the album off yesterday (figuratively, of course, since it’s in my iTunes) and gave it a listen. Then I listened to it again. And then a third time after that. Maybe it was the timing, maybe it’s this crazy mixed-up world in which we live, maybe it was just the mood I was in. Who knows? Either way, damn. It really is that good.