Spiritualized's 'Everything Was Beautiful' Lives Up to Its Name

Spiritualized's 'Everything Was Beautiful' Lives Up to Its Name
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Spiritualized fans were likely saddened when bandleader J. Spaceman (a.k.a. Jason Pierce) revealed that 2018's And Nothing Hurt might be their last, especially since it seemed a little understated compared to its predecessor, 2012's Sweet Heart Sweet Light. But a follow-up, Everything Is Beautiful, is now here to provide closure, completing the albums' namesake Kurt Vonnegut quote in the process and quite literally picking up where And Nothing Hurt left off, with a Morse code intro mirroring its predecessor's outro.

Everything Was Beautiful packs plenty of genres and ideas into its seven tracks, featuring everything from soul to rock to country, with contributions by more than 30 musicians and Spaceman playing 16 different instruments. Spiritualized have always taken risks with their music, but this album takes thingd to new heights. These risks ultimately pay off with an album that delivers some of the band's best and most powerful work while also paying homage to some of their greatest classics.

Tracks like "Let It Bleed (For Iggy)" and "I'm Coming Home Again" amplify the album's collaborative, expansive sonic palette. The former consists of soft, serene verses which crescendo into intense choruses filled with rhythmic drums, penetrating trumpet sounds and a rich choir, recalling the instrumental greatness of Spiritualized classic such as "Shine a Light" and "Broken Heart." The latter, meanwhile, clocks in at just under 10 minutes, and closes the album with a bang. It gradually picking up speed and intensity throughout, introducing layers upon layers of new sound and feeling into every second, including raw electric guitar riffs, the sound of police sirens and complex percussion, making its lengthy runtime speed by.

The orchestral instrumentation allows the album to cover vast ground. Occasionally, the musical grandeur detracts from Spaceman's vocals, as on the upbeat and catchy "Best Thing You Never Had (The D Song)" and "The A Song (Laid In Your Arms)," where the instruments occasionally overpower the vocals, but elsewhere, the vocals get their time to shine. This is perhaps most evident on country ballad "Crazy," featuring Nikki Lane. Though it's one of the musically simpler tracks on the album, it stands out with its beautiful, heartwrenching lyrics, including a tribute to an older song: "And I know you can't love me now, not today / All of my thoughts are of you / But I hope in time that we might find a way / Lord knows how time can be cruel."

Spiritualized have delivered yet another great project with Everything Is Beautiful, an incredible mix of genres bringing forth truly impressive instrumentals with compelling lyrics. This ability to jump between genres, while keeping the album a coherent whole, is only one of Spiritualized's many talents.  (Fat Possum)