i downloaded the new spiritualized album early. shame on me. fortunately i really love it. i just listened to it again earlier today after i listened to the final mix for 'down to sleep.' there are a few things i'm not 100% sure of in the mix, but i can't really always tell what they are, but i do know that i am very happy with this final mix and i don't want to labor over it any more because to my ears it sounds wonderful, fresh and completely full of life. it also sounded amazing coming out of the car stereo speakers when i was driving the prius that is kept down the street (we are car share members). i fixed the two weak mixes too and finally got to listen to the whole thing without interruption today and the album is incredibly strong i feel. definitely the best thing we've done so far. i am very happy with it because it really does achieve pretty much everything i wanted it to achieve- especially in the vein of the guitar sound and integrating the strings and more real drums into our sound. i am quite happy with the drum sounds that i got- they were closer to the sounds i was chasing than i expected which is quite an accomplishment considering how little i had to achieve those sounds. they certainly are their own thing and they don't sound bad at all.
back to the new spiritualized album though- i really love it. it's a unique album in the spiritualized/spacemen 3 continuum. i am always amazed at the internet furor that is currently surrounding it. i must confess that i really don't get it- they've really managed to push their sound in a new and wonderful direction that is wildly unexpected. that is saying quite a bit as most spiritualized albums are not without their hallmarks. ironic as well- i think that people thought that 'amazing grace' wasn't enough of a departure (which i don't think is necessarily that true either- but i am a big fan of that album) and now people are upset and up in arms because 'songs in a&e' doesn't return to the sound of 'lazer guided melodies' or 'pure phase.' what i'm struck most by on this record is how all of the songs hold up on their own. even songs that i considered 'weak' at first begin to reveal more to them with repeated listens and it is the first spiritualized album to feature a wide array of incredibly tight, compact and economic songwriting. 'ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space' is a good reference point in this case- all of the songs (the instrumentals aren't what i mean in this statement) on it are incredibly strong, but they are less compact- there are only a few songs on it that clock in at under four minutes. the title track is the most economic and compact in that regard. i wouldn't say that 'songs in a&e' is as good as 'ladies and gentlmen...' it will probably always be the best spiritualized album. it's also nice that they've gotten kind of bold and not put long repetitive instrumentals on the new album. as much as i love 'electric mainline' and 'the power and the glory' etc. i am impressed that they have attempted to not fall back on that kind of thing on this record. hats off. the only other album in their catalogue to rely solely on song songs is 'let it come down' and there are a few fairly weak ones on there that don't quite accomplish what they set out to accomplish, which is a shame because if all of the songs on that album did accomplish what they are supposed to that album would be an unstoppable phenomena. i still like it quite a bit, though. i don't listen to it that much, i must confess, but when i do i like it still. i thought that the stronger songs on 'let it come down' were really revealed during the acoustic mainlines performances- 'anything more,' 'stop your crying' and 'the straight and narrow.' even 'let it come down' doesn't have as many songs that are so to the point. one is incredibly long and repetitive and another is a rehash of an old spacemen 3 song. 'songs in a&e' is squarely forward-looking. it'll be really interesting to see what kind of precedent it places for future spiritualized albums (who knows how many more there will be). i just really love it- it's such a unique album and i'm so impressed that they were able to get so many new hallmarks into their sound and really flip the finger at the naysayers who believe that they are a one-trick pony (i'm looking at you andrew earles- you deserve a spanking). my expectations were pretty high after hearing most of the new songs in the acoustic mainlines format. i particularly love the album version of 'baby i'm just a fool'- it's so completely different to what i imagined and so full of creativity and inspiration. wonderful!