Splash FM Website of the Day, 1st August 2005. Be Impressed.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Spiritualized – Ladies and Gentleman…/Electricity.

Spiritualized’s 1997 album Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space (or LAGWAFIS as the kids call it) doesn’t come up on greatest ever albums list as often as OK Computer and Urban Hymns but it caused just as much of a stir at the time. It even beat these albums to top the NME’s albums of the year list.

Spiritualized took shape during the breakdown of Jason ‘J Spaceman’ Pierce’s previous band Spacemen 3. By 1990 Pierce and Pete Kembler were no longer talking and the album Recurring was made Outkast style with the two men’s tracks being recorded independently and stapled together. To no one’s surprise the band broke up shortly afterwards. Spiritualized initially featured many of the musicians who had recorded Recurring and had an unsteady line up for many years. By 1997 the core of Spiritualized had settled as Pierce, bassist Sean Cook and Kate ‘Mrs Richard Ashcroft’ Radley.

LAGWAFIS is one of the classic break-up albums (Pierce had recently split from Kate Radley) shifting between songs of heartbreak and songs of redemption. Despite the gospel flavour of the album this redemption comes not through God but through self-medication. Even the album’s artwork and liner notes are a parody of packet of pills. Among other warnings, we are told that the album is “for aural administration only” - presumably for the benefit of those considering using the CD as a suppository. The bands love of drugs references reached its natural climax in November 1997 when they played the ‘world’s highest gig’ at the top of the CN Tower in Toronto.

LAGWAFIS kicks off in a mellow fashion with the title track. The song uses overlapping vocal lines (a trick also used by The Beta Band at the time) to create a sense of disorientation which continues throughout the album – particularly in its many white noise sections.

Electricity is a full-on rocker and the band certainly sound like they were wired when recording it. Here they reject the old Status Quo three chord trick for being hopelessly over-wrought and stick with one chord for the entire song (G for those of you taking notes). This track reminds me of the high tempo, high octane gospel one-chord vamps intended to produce spiritual rapture in the congregation. If you don’t know what I’m talking about go to iTunes and download Thank Ya’ by The Campbell Brothers. It’ll be the best 79p you ever spent.

Spritualized – Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space

Spiritualized – Electricity

Buy Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space

Parish Notices.

A hearty ‘how do’ to all The Guide readers and apologies to anyone expecting “a fantastic blog”. The Guardian’s Corrections and Clarifications editor has been notified.

You can hear Steve ‘Lamo’ Lamacq talk to Richard ‘Chuckles’ Ashcroft about the recording of Urban Hymns on BBC6 Music Plays It Again (look in the right hand column).

In all the excitement of OK Computer week I blithely assumed everyone already owned a copy and failed to provide a link to buy the album. Buy OK Computer.


At 6:05 PM, Anonymous Kevin said...

I love 1997. I love this music. I love this blog.

At 3:49 PM, Blogger Hannah said...

Another album to add to my endless 'want!' list, then!

At 3:51 PM, Blogger Woodshed said...

Thanks, Kevin. I love you.

And you, Hannah. Did you see WL97's mention in The Guardian?

At 3:54 PM, Blogger Hannah said...

I saw it online, because you posted it - was it in print, too?

I really should get posting something, when I get a break from revision and stuff. Possibly a bit of Supergrass.

At 3:59 PM, Blogger Woodshed said...

Yup, it was in one of the suplements.

I can't believe you're prioritising your future success over pop music.

At 4:01 PM, Blogger Hannah said...

Ah, we get the Torygraph. Not my choice.

I KNOW! Shocking, isn't it? I'm out to gigs two nights this week though, so it compensates.

At 4:01 PM, Blogger Hannah said...

Oh, and have you got a scan of the mention, just for an ego boost. :P

At 4:08 PM, Blogger Woodshed said...

I haven't got a scanner but I'll see what I can do. It's not very impressive though. It’s right next to a bit about houseflies – rock n roll.

At 4:49 PM, Blogger Hannah said...

Thanks Woodshed.

Who told you about it, or did you find it yourself?


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