Spiritualized - Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space
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Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space

If ever there were an album title that summed up the gross output of a release in one sentence, Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space would have a stake damn near the top of the pile as one that does it the best. Although the group had released several albums previously to this one (and followed it up with an amazing live double album), this is their masterpiece thusfar. It's 12 tracks and over 70 minutes of supremely spacey goodness, going from drifting sing alongs to completely crazy fuzzy guitar freakouts. If you ever wanted an album to start out on space rock, you probably couldn't do much better.

Even if I didn't convince you in that first paragraph of the weight of this album, perhaps I should also mention that a song off it (the title track in fact) was used in a VW commercial to help promote the new Beetles when they were released a couple years back. And just in case you were wondering, the commercial in question was by far the dreamiest of the batch. Anyway, if you're sick of VW marketing types pushing music that they deem hip, just forget I said that, but please, read on.

The album actually starts out with the very track I just mentioned, and after a muffled sample of a woman stating the very words "Ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space," the track slowly fades in, with vocalists singing in sort of a campfire round structure while sonar blips, strings, and sweeping keyboards wash over everything and wrap it up in a dreamy gauze of sound. It's the perfect lead-in to the album and instead of drifting even more with the next track, the group moves into more of a rock groove with another swirling haze of a track called "Come Together." Again, they pile organs, horns, thick bass, harmonica's and everything else on top to create a glorious noise.

And that's really the point of things with the release. Sometimes they'll start out with nothing more than a piano twinkling (as on "All Of My Thoughts") before layering it with some strings and horns, gradually building until things absolutely explode. At other times, though, they experiment a lot more with random noise and less song structure ("The Individual") or even manage one of the most delicate, beautiful, and lonely songs I've ever heard ("Broken Heart"). As if they weren't even content with that, they even manage to pull off the gospel-influenced "Cool Waves" before closing out the disc with the 17 minute, jazz spazout of "Cop Shoot Cop..." in which the group again manages to pull off a track that both lulls and electrifies several different times over its epic time span.

Just in case you didn't get enough of the drug and dreamy references within the music and lyrics themselves, the group has even conveniently designed the artwork of the release to look like a pharmaceutical product of some sort (and if you're a die hard fan, you can even hunt down the uber-limited version of the release with 12 3" CDs (one song each) in a blister pack). Of course, even if you're not using drugs while listening to the album, it has some of the same effects. Spiritualized goes from dissonant to dreamy many different times (often in the course of one track) and by the end of the 70 minutes, you may feel like you've ingested some narcotics. As the titled suggests, though, I think that's the point of it all.

rating: 910
Aaron Coleman 2003-06-19 00:00:00