Spiritualized are an English space rock band formed in 1990 in Rugby, Warwickshire by Jason Pierce (often known as J. Spaceman), formerly of Spacemen 3. After several line up-changes, in 1999, the band centered on Pierce (vocals, guitar), John Coxon (guitars, keyboards), Doggen Foster (guitar), Kevin Bales (drums and percussion) and Tom Edwards (percussion and keyboards) with revolving bassists, current player Thomas Wayne has being playing with the band since 2009.
|Origin||Rugby, England, United Kingdom|
|Genres||Space rock, neo-psychedelia, shoegaze|
Spiritualized have released eight studio albums. The best known and most critically acclaimed of these is 1997's Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space, which NME magazine named as their Album of the Year, beating other critically acclaimed albums such as Radiohead's OK Computer and The Verve's Urban Hymns.
Following a breakdown in relations between Spacemen 3 co-frontmen Peter Kember and Jason Pierce, the group's bassist Will Carruthers, drummer Jonny Mattock, and guitarist Mark Refoy were asked by Pierce to form a new group alongside local friend Steve Evans, subsequently calling themselves Spiritualized. The band took their name from an adaptation of the text on the back label of a bottle of Pernod. Due to formation from a majority of Spacemen 3 members, a technical clause meant that Spiritualized had to maintain the Spacemen 3 recording contract with Dedicated Records.
The first Spiritualized release, in 1990, was a cover of The Troggs' "Anyway That You Want Me"; the record heralded the official split of Spacemen 3 following contractual wrangles over the band's name and its use in Spiritualized-related promotional material (initial copies of "Anyway That You Want Me" came with a Spacemen 3 logo on the sleeve).
First releases: 1992–1998
Evans was replaced on keyboards by Pierce's then-girlfriend Kate Radley for the follow-up single, "Run"/"I Want You". A number of singles followed, before the band, in early 1992, released their first LP Lazer Guided Melodies, which had been recorded in Rugby over the previous two years. The band embarked on a tour with The Jesus & Mary Chain after the release of the album. A second album, Pure Phase, was released in 1995, and a third, Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space emerged in 1997 to critical acclaim and commercial success. Following promotional activity for Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space, Sean Cook, Damon Reece and Michael Mooney threatened a strike in protest over low salaries and appearance fees. New contracts of employment were drawn up between Pierce and the musicians, and the same contracts were then used to fire them (to general disbelief by the music press at the time). In response, Messrs Cook, Reece and Mooney formed Lupine Howl.
Development in sound: 1999–2010
Retaining only keyboardist Thighpaulsandra (keyboards), Jason Pierce then debuted a new line up of Spiritualized, introducing classical percussionist Tom Edwards and former Julian Cope string arranger Martin Schellard on bass guitar. Completing the new Spiritualized line-up were guitarist Doggen of Brain Donor and the Julian Cope band, Richard Warren and drummer Kevin 'Kevlar' Bales, who is also a member of Brain Donor. Jonny Aitken stepped in on drums for the recording of Amazing Grace while Kevin Bales was recovering from illness. Chris Davis of Six By Seven & Spotlight Kid also stepped in for Kevin for two major festival appearances. Let It Come Down included over 120 musicians. Amazing Grace favoured a more stripped down sound with the gospel, blues, and soul influences even more dominant than before. On 15 June 1997, Spiritualized became the last band to play at Factory Records' Manchester nightclub The Haçienda.
After several years of work and Pierce's serious illness in July 2005, the album, Songs in A&E was released on 26 May 2008 in the UK, and on 27 May 2008 in the US. The first single from the 18-track album was "Soul on Fire". The release was backed by an Electric Mainlines UK tour which began in May. Pierce has also scored Harmony Korine's 2008 film Mister Lonely. In October and December 2009 the band performed 1997's "Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space" live in its entirety as part of the All Tomorrow's Parties-curated Don't Look Back series.
Recent releases: 2011–present
After more than two years in the making, while Pierce was undergoing experimental chemotherapy for a liver disease, and including a year long period of mixing, Sweet Heart Sweet Light was released in April 2012, on Double Six Records and Fat Possum in North America. The band had already played some of this new material over the past 3 years but not much else was known about the content of the album. The album cover, an octagon surrounding the word "Huh?" on a plain white background, is a reference to the working title of the album. In an interview regarding the new release it was revealed that the album would "embrace" more poppy songs compared to previous albums. In the same interview, Jason Pierce also said that the album was partly inspired by the experiences of performing "Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space" live in its entirety. In 2013, Jeremy McMahan (Dirty Blood, C is for Cookie) was brought in to some sessions to play bass.
And Nothing Hurt is the band's eighth studio album released on 7 September 2018 through Fat Possum Records in the United States and Bella Union in the United Kingdom, and is the band's first album in six years since 2012's Sweet Heart Sweet Light. The album was announced on 11 June 2018, along with the release of the album's first singles, "I'm Your Man" and "A Perfect Miracle" and was produced by Jason Pierce.
The musical style of Spiritualized relies heavily on sustained 'pedal' notes and drones. Lazer Guided Melodies and Pure Phase incorporate elements of the shoegazing style, drones and tremolo. The landmark "Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space" saw the influence of African-American gospel and blues beginning to show, while "walls of sound" modelled after the production styles of Phil Spector and Brian Wilson also made their presence felt.
- Studio albums
- "NME Albums of the Year, 1997". rocklistmusic.co.uk. Retrieved 11 August 2009.
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- Peter Buckley (2003). The Rough Guide to Rock. Rough Guides. pp. 2026–. ISBN 978-1-85828-457-6.
- "CD REVIEWS: The Charlatans UK, Spiritualized, The Watchmen and many more". Chart Attack, September 25, 2001
- "Spiritualized Star Hospitalised". NME. 21 July 2005. Retrieved 31 August 2011.
- "Nme.com/news". NME. 17 September 2007. Retrieved 31 August 2011.
- "Jason Pierce 'living in the studio' to record new Spiritualized album". NME. 7 July 2010. Retrieved 31 August 2011.
- Kreps, Daniel (11 June 2018). "Spiritualized Ready First LP in Six Years 'And Nothing Hurt'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 1 September 2018.
- Pareles, Jon (30 August 2018). "Jason Pierce Struggled to Make a New Spiritualized Album. And He May Do It Again". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 September 2018.
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- "Spiritualized – Amazing Grace". PopMatters. Retrieved 30 July 2015.