Few artists have the right to moan about struggling to finish an album the way Jason Pierce does. In 2008, he released Songs in A&E, an album completed while he was recovering from a life-threatening bout of Periorbital cellulitis with bilateral pneumonia. If that wasn't enough, he was diagnosed with degenerative liver disease during the making of Spiritualized's seventh studio album, Sweet Heart Sweet Light (originally titled Huh?), for which he had to undergo chemotherapy and take experimental drugs. However, instead of channelling all of the frustration he must have felt, Spaceman chose to look on the brighter side and make the most inspiring music of his life. Described by Pierce as his first true attempt to write pop songs, Sweet Heart isn't pop music in the conventional sense – his mind works much differently – but you can hear what he was seeking out in the rescued, gospel-tinged "Too Late," VU-inspired garage jam "Hey Jane" and, of course, "So Long You Pretty Thing," a gorgeous, soulful finale that features Pierce's 11-year-old daughter, Poppy. In many ways, Sweet Heart is the most complete Spiritualized album yet, as he rounds things out with the trance-inducing drone of "Get What You Deserve" and tear-stained country ballad "Freedom." You could say for his latest masterpiece, Pierce had to take life-saving drugs to make music to take drugs to.
Read an interview with Spiritualized here. (Fat Possum/Outside)