Defying expectations no less than he ever has, Spiritualized frontman Jason Pierce regularly escapes reducing himself to traditional garage recklessness by injecting his new album Amazing Grace with the same gleaming songwriting he has been committed to in the past. Here it’s embodied by a rowdy, psychedelic rock sound with blues melodies and murky lyrics. So maybe he took more than one tip from the White Stripes, but in most cases the music rises far above its own reverence and becomes something any tasteful listener can look back on as being, at its worst, something inventive, if slightly flawed. The noisy opening track “This Little Life of Mine” exaggerates the eccentricities of garage rock—even wildness such as this could use a little self-discipline—while the odd style of “She Kissed Me” and “Never Goin’ Back” adds excitement without becoming too overpowering. Pierce seems hesitant to shift gears completely, though, as the pretentious “Hold On” and “Lay It Down Slow” are reminiscent of previous critically-lauded efforts Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space and Let It Come Down. The recording’s laidback methods are to be admired, but the compositional uncertainty and sometimes scruffiness of its relatively brief 11 tracks seem just slightly ungenerous. Jack and Meg should be proud all the same.
- Slant is reaching more readers than ever before, but advertising revenue across the Internet is falling fast, hitting independently owned and operated publications like ours the hardest. We’ve watched many of our fellow media sites fall by the way side in recent years, but we’re determined to stick around.
We’ve never asked our readers for financial support before, and we’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees. If you like what we do, however, please consider becoming a Slant patron.
You can also make a one-time donation via PayPal: