Published Jan 01, 2006In 1997, Spiritualized released their opus Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space, an album that sold more copies than their first two records combined and bringing them to mainstream attention. Two years ago, main man Jason Pierce decided to clean house, sacking his band (who became Lupine Howl), and recruiting a whole new outfit. Let It Come Down, the band's fourth album, sees Spiritualized at their strongest, with over 100 musicians (including a full orchestra and choir) contributing to its 11 songs. And it only took four years. "I don't mind putting the time into it," Pierce claims. "I don't ever lose concentration, so it's only four years. We were trying to find different ways to work the music and it happens in very short periods of time, very fast. We pretty much did that until the money ran out."
Continuing the gospel, blues, and rock'n'roll of Floating, Let It Come Down takes Pierce's craftsmanship to a new level. A self-proclaimed limited musician, Pierce had to take his time to achieve his ideas, which included a lot of planning. "I don't write music, so the important thing for me was to put this record in an area of music where I really didn't know how to operate. I sang all the melody lines to a Dictaphone and then transposed those to a piano so that somebody else could write the music. It just took a long time to do that," he explains. "The idea was to write an album where the orchestration and the choir parts were integral to the album, not as a kind of addition. The choir sounds like they're there to add this illusion of grandeur to something that isn't particularly grand. I wanted to start from the other perspective where the orchestrations would dictate the way the songs went. The way I found to do that was to sing these melodies down and that would dictate where the chords would be and what the chords should be, and build the thing from there."
With such a long creative process, one would think Pierce would lose sight of his vision, but it is quite the opposite. "I think when you put records out, you want them to be as good as they possibly can, at that point in time, given what you've recorded and where you've recorded it. You don't ever get a chance to revisit these things and put them right after the event, so I just feel it's important to get them right before you let them go."