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Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Austin Chronicle

The Austin Chronicle

SpiritualizedThe Complete Works Volume One AristaFrom about 1992 to 1997, Jason Pierces Spiritualized was the best psychedelic rock band in the land, their luminous first two albums and transcendent live shows ensuring their legacy to be more than a mere Spacemen 3 footnote. A 2CD compendium from the Lazer Guided Melodies and Pure Phase era is a wonderful idea, stopping shy of the decline that resulted in 2001s overwrought Let It Come Down. Alas, The Complete Works Volume One is a completists dream more than a clean overview of the bands early period. Culling virtually all of the bands early singles and rarities, Volume One winds up with multiple versions of the same song, but few unique Bsides. It opens with a cover of the Troggs Anyway That You Want Me that beats the tar out of Wild Thing, but after that, theres little to surprise anyone whos heard the first two albums. Many of the alternate versions are the equivalent of poorly executed freedom fries not quite halfbaked, but not exactly done either. There are exceptions. The extended, heartbeatromp given to LGMs Smiles is one high point, as is the unedited soulcharred starburst of Medication. The sequencing is more or less chronological, but poor in terms of flow. Feel So Sad, a leftover from Spacemen 3s final album, is a wonderful tune, but three consecutive versions stretching over 25 minutes is ludicrous for a song that was originally three minutes long. For the casual fan, The Complete Works Volume One is at least three sizes too big.

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