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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Stoner's Guide to Spiritualized's Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating in Space

Posted By on Tue, Feb 8, 2011 at 2:57 PM


Listen to this while high: Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating in Space by Spiritualized.

Behind the buzz: This album is one of the great THC supplements of the 1990s. Why it seldom turns up on any of those Stoner Rock 101 guides you see on the Internet may be only partially charged off to how lousy dopesuckers are at sustained feats of enumeration and memory. In 1997, Spiritualized was the delight of every dandy in the Western underworld, while self-tagged stoner rockers favored the sludgier likes of Monster Magnet and Fu Manchu, which are sonically a different kettle of kush altogether. Time, thankfully, has a way of correcting these little subculture mistakes, so all God's crunky children are now free to love the ass off this stupendous stuff without fear of cultural displacement.

A peevish aside from Robert Christgau: The Dean of rockrits loathed this album back in its Clinton-era day, declaring somewhat pettishly that even "druggies deserve a fair hearing." One wonders at the precise point in the Seventies the Dean self-mutated into Vernon Wormer from Animal House.

Today's weed: A dry but doughty strain of OG Grandad wrapped around small powdery wad of Diesel kief. This harmless-looking nugget is the MJ equivalent of one of those shotglass beverages traditionally served in roadhouses with a side of whisk broom, so you can brush the sawdust off your lapels after.

Through the hooka glass: The title track shows off Jason Pierce's plaintive whimper while gently taking us into the album's sugary aural universe. By "Come together," we're earlobes deep into its fragmented and hallucinatory aesthetic. The wised-up jiveass lyrics of "I Think I'm in love" evoke every doomed Saturday night in Clubland, as the hooky fadeout stretches to McCartneyeque lengths.

Welcome to the Crunky House: By "All My thoughts," the combined burden of serious doping and having to follow a track listing becomes rather oppressive. As well as beside the point, since the album's charms are in the whorls, eddies, and groaning explosions of sound that decorate the songs. "Electricity" stands by itself as a nugget of postmodern psych and so does "Cool Waves," but most of the rest seems like touring the far ionosphere in a jet-powered Coup de Ville.

The buzzkill: "Broken heart" begins as weepy and pained, eventually swelling into a dirge before the chittering segue into the doomy, majestic "No God Only Religion" blasts us back into the upper ether.

The windup: "Cop shoot cop" comes on like a jazzy action-adventure dream right after the shimmering nighty-night of "Cool Waves," and disintegrates in a fiercely spiraling welter before bobbing to the roiled surface like a champagne cork. By this time, as much could be said of your mind, as the fancies continue to roll on after the shutoff at 70:02 and you stare fixedly into space with this week's bootleg grin splitting your face.

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