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Songs in A & E

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Who would have thought that Jason Pierce's Spiritualized would have had any life in them after the rather uninspiring Amazing Grace in 2003? In the intervening five years, Pierce nearly died from double pneumonia. Near death experiences by their very nature are life-changing events. The music on Songs in A&E were recorded in that aftermath, but most of the album was written two years before he got sick; with so much of it about near death and survival, it feels like life imitating art. From the first notes of "Sweet Talk," it's obvious that a very different Spiritualized is up and about; an acoustic guitar, a sparse drum kit, the voice quartet, a few horns, and a minimal...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Who would have thought that Jason Pierce's Spiritualized would have had any life in them after the rather uninspiring Amazing Grace in 2003? In the intervening five years, Pierce nearly died from double pneumonia. Near death experiences by their very nature are life-changing events. The music on Songs in A&E were recorded in that aftermath, but most of the album was written two years before he got sick; with so much of it about near death and survival, it feels like life imitating art. From the first notes of "Sweet Talk," it's obvious that a very different Spiritualized is up and about; an acoustic guitar, a sparse drum kit, the voice quartet, a few horns, and a minimal bassline fuel it. Pierce sweetly croons to a loved one in waltz time; his words are simultaneously appeasing and accusatory. The gospel chorus isn't as overblown as it was on Amazing Grace or Let It Come Down. They are in a support role, offering Pierce's reedy voice a fullness and authority it wouldn't have otherwise. The arrangement is lilting but powerful. How strange, then, the sounds of a ventilator that usher in the next track "Death Take Your Fiddle": "I think I'll drink myself into a coma/And I'll take every way out I can find/But morphine, codeine, Whisky, they won't alter/The way I feel/Now death is not around..."Death take your fiddle"/And play a song for me." Minor-key acoustic guitar and ghostly bass frame Pierce singing a mutant folk-blues that evokes Gary Davis' "Death Don't Have No Mercy." The backing vocals float wordlessly like death angels, hovering around the vocalist and giving the tune an otherworldly quality. But this isn't a song about dying; it's a song about coming close and cheating it; it's eerie. The proof? The next two tracks: "I Gotta Fire," and "Soul on Fire." The former is a taut, "Gimme Shelter"-esque rocker, the latter, a lush, uptempo love song. "Sitting on Fire" is a beautifully orchestrated love song: it's an admission of weakness and codependency but celebrates both of them at the same time: "Baby, I'm sitting on fire/but the flames put a hole in my heart/when we're together we stand so tall/But a part of me falls to the floor/Sets me free /I do believe it'll burn up in me for the rest of my life." Strings, vibes, marimbas, and drums crash in to the center of the mix carrying the protagonist into oblivion. "Yeah, Yeah" is a scorching rocker that feels like the Bad Seeds meeting the old Spacemen 3. "You Lie You Cheat," crashes in Velvets style with acoustic guitar and screeching feedback. The chorus sings atop a flailing drum kit, distorted strings, and wailing electric guitar. The marimbas and strings that power "Baby, I'm Just a Fool," sweetly underscore a very dark pop song, complete with "da-do-da-do-dat det-det-do's." It descends into beautifully textured chaos led by a loopy violin solo over seven minutes. Songs in A&E is the most consistent recording Spiritualized has issued since 1997's Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space. It contains the best elements of the band's signature sound, and paradoxically hedonistic yet utterly spiritual lyric themes. That said, newly focused energy, willfully restrained arrangements, and taut compositions give the set a sheer emotional power that no Spiritualized recording has ever displayed before, making it, quite possibly, their finest outing yet.
Billboard
Tracks from A&E orbit just outside of gospel (the haunting funeral march "Death Take Your Fiddle") and touch on the blues (the dark and rhythmic "Yeah Yeah").
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/27/2008
  • Label: Fontana Int'l
  • UPC: 602517665422
  • Catalog Number: 5422
  • Sales rank: 56,441

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Harmony 1 (Mellotron) (0:24)
  2. 2 Sweet Talk (4:04)
  3. 3 Death Take Your Fiddle (3:13)
  4. 4 I Got a Fire (2:28)
  5. 5 Soul on Fire (4:07)
  6. 6 Harmony 2 (Piano) (0:42)
  7. 7 Sitting on Fire (4:38)
  8. 8 Yeah Yeah (2:28)
  9. 9 You Lie You Cheat (3:04)
  10. 10 Harmony 3 (Voice) (0:18)
  11. 11 Baby I'm Just a Fool (7:07)
  12. 12 Don't Hold Me Close (3:08)
  13. 13 Harmony 4 (The Old Man...) (1:32)
  14. 14 The Waves Crash In (4:08)
  15. 15 Harmony 5 (Accordion) (1:03)
  16. 16 Borrowed Your Gun (3:47)
  17. 17 Harmony 6 (Glockenspiel) (0:50)
  18. 18 Goodnight Goodnight (4:38)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Spiritualized Primary Artist
Tim Lewis Synthesizer, Piano, farfisa organ, Vox Continental
Mary Owen Flute
John Coxon Guitar, Pipe organ
Troy Gregory Vocals
Sarah Evans Vocals
Tony Foster Acoustic Guitar, Guitar, fender rhodes, Lap Steel Guitar
Ian Rathbone Violin
Sarah Temple Clarinet
Sharlene Hector Vocals
Mick Collins Vocals
Ko Melina Zydeco Vocals
Simon Hill Vocals
Kevin Bales Guitar, Snare Drums
Barrie Cadogan Guitar
Tony Woollard Cello
Ben Crook Vocals
Tom Edwards Percussion, Glockenspiel, Marimbas, Hammond Organ, Melodica, Timpani, Vibes, fender rhodes, Tubular Bells, Reed Organ
Nicola Sweeney Violin
Nomvula Malinga Vocals
Alexis Barrow Accordion
Richard Warren Bass
Rupert Clervaux Vocals
Sian Ahern Vocals
Rachel Korine Vocals
James Adams Trombone
Kim Gehrig Vocals
Claire Luke Vocals
Sarah McCrory Vocals
Johnny Morocombe French Horn
Poppy Spaceman Vocals
Ben Edwards Trumpet
Dave Temple Saxophone
Technical Credits
Tim Lewis Engineer
Tom Edwards Horn Arrangements, String Arrangements
J. Spaceman Arranger, Composer, Audio Production
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Customer Reviews

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    Posted January 6, 2010

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