Sweet Heart Sweet Light
Released: 04/16/2012 | Label: Double Six |
One of the best pieces of advice people can receive in life, is to know when to hang up their boots. Jason Pierce has, along with notable contributors over the years, created and recorded songs that became the soundtracks to a whole generations lives. From the early days of Spacemen 3, to the glorious Ladies & Gentlemen, he has captured the identity of a generation of underground music worshippers and given them something to cling to.
The problem is, he's gone too far.
Like a pleasant ray of sunshine spooling over a throng of festival attendees, only to look up and realize that it was Keane's turn to perform, the songs on Sweet Heart.... plonk along like rejects from the tired, brainless jams after making A + E. There is no inspiration, the vocals are tame and recorded in a horribly annoying way, the tunes just span out with their gospel hints and no backbone and fail to pin certain times or moments in the duration of the record. The whole thing just slides by, much like a Keane concert.
Lyrically J. Spaceman has never been a Milan Kundera, he veers far too close to silly cliches and the whole "High, Fly, Cry, Bye" sentiments. Yet, in the past the music more than hid the shoddy lyrics rendering them secondary in the overall experience. On the new album the production pushes his voice way up in the sound picture causing you inadvertently to focus more on WHAT he is singing and not just HOW. Unfortunate then that there are sentences peppered throughout that wouldn't stand up against a 2nd grade poetry test.
Autopilot has been turned on. Minds have melted. Vocals have been recorded. Band instructed to fill in the spots with wanky guitars (Spacemen 3 literally BLEW peoples minds with their chaotic sounds) and now the "crazy guitar sounds" are vapid and uninspiring. There are no bleeding eardrums anymore, just a slight tickle. Not that there should be an emphasis on what was done in the past, but when a band takes a different path, don't add guitar sounds like the ones that fade out on the song "Headin for the Top Now" or float in and out of "I am what I am".
Perhaps the years of drug abuse and near death episodes have numbed the part of the brain that delivers the inspiration to take things a few steps further. This album, at best, lies squarely in the territory of bloated nonchalance.