Spiritualized Amazing Grace

For the first time since forming Spiritualized in 1991, Jason Pierce has taken a step backwards. Leaving the heavily orchestrated arrangements of 2001’s Let It Come Down behind, Amazing Grace is about as stripped down a Spiritualized record as you’re going to get, though calling a record that features horns, timpani, sleigh bells and a gospel choir garage might be stretching things. Spacemen 3 fans will be happy to hear Pierce return to his roots on the feedback-drenched rockers and the love/drug/god ballads are heartbreaking as ever. "Lord Let it Rain on Me” is as lovely a hymn as Pierce has ever written, "The Power and the Glory” is ear-piercing free jazz experimentation at its finest and "The Ballad of Richie Lee” features one of Pierce’s most heartfelt vocal performances ever. All that said, almost every song on here is a rewrite of something Pierce has already done and while he mostly manages to better the originals, it’s somewhat disappointing that Pierce isn’t pushing any new buttons. (Sanctuary)