It’s 16 years since the Avalanches’ era-defining ‘Since I Left You’. How can a follow-up that took so long sound so meh?
Hope Is Important
Exploding plastic hallelujahs!...
If it is true, as the popular football chant maintains, that 'the object of all art is peace' then this second live album should allow artistic director Pierce to nod out in deep tranquillity forever. It was recorded five months after the triumphant 'Ladies And Gentlemen...' and deploys the 12-piece Brixton Community Choir plus strings and a four-piece brass section to transform the band's already revelatory neon gospel tunes into full-on epiphanies.
With tracks from 'Lazer Guided Melodies' as well as intro/outro jazz spume hymnals based around the happy-clappy Edwin Hawkins Singers hit 'Oh Happy Day' it is probably the definitive Spiritualized record, proceeding from a flambid Velvets basis to storm heights of metaphysical greatness. The nurturing effects of The Stooges, Suicide, Kraftwerk, Loop, Miles Davis and gospel are all obvious and straighter rock'n'roll energy blasts like 'Electricity' and 'Walking With Jesus' provide Velvets/Mary Chain/Verve tinctured light and shade.
But it's in the hour-and-a-half-plus celebration's more radical tracts (several of them psychically linked to the lost wonder of Kevin Shields' mix of Primal Scream's 'If They Move Kill 'Em') - the wildfire free jazz cacophony 'Intro', the etiolated climax of 'Electric Mainline' or the deranged alien cloud 'The Individual' - that Pierce's holistic genius shines through.
However much it reads like hippy dribble in print, under the influence of their lashing electric collages and redemptive pedal steel lilts, and teased by the lovelorn-Jesus-on-smack lyrics, even a lobotomised mollusc would sense some sort of delicious statement about the oceanic inter-connectivity of love, drugs and God.
Quite a big record, then. The people who put the Lou into hallelujah, the only band on the planet with an altitude problem, bring you the orgasm, the womb, incarnation, love, death, purgatory, some seraphic line-dancing and a top game of pool with the ineffable. A hosanna in the works, or what.
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