Spiritualized

Sweet Heart Sweet Light (Fat Possum)

Phases & Stages

Spiritualized

Sweet Heart Sweet Light (Fat Possum)

Things haven't gotten better for Spiritualized's Jason Pierce. Sweet Heart Sweet Light proves they've only gotten worse. Diagnosed with a liver disease that debilitated him throughout the recording of Spiritualized's seventh LP, the embattled frontman paints a sprawling, majestic, troubled blur of a songwriter on the edge. "Sometimes I wish that I was dead," he sings on "Little Girl," "'cause only living can feel the pain." With a pop-ready string section and Southern gospel choir, it's the most optimistic melody on SHSL, one last sliver of hope before the drug-induced abyss of "Get What You Deserve" swallows Pierce's ever-tortured psyche. He tremors like Jeff Tweedy wafting through "Spiders (Kidsmoke)" on "Headin' for the Top Now" and "I Am What I Am," but rebirth comes hard. He's calling for Jesus by "Life Is a Problem," and asking God for a purpose on "So Long You Pretty Thing." Broken never sounded so divine. (Spiritualized spellbinds Emo's East, Wednesday, May 16.)

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