Opinion | Bona Fide | “And Nothing Hurt”

A review of Spiritualized’s “And Nothing Hurt”


Regan Peterson

Spiritualized released “And Nothing Hurt,” Sept. 7.

I knew nothing about Spiritualized. I walked into Euclid Records, my local record store, like every other Wednesday I visit to gaze upon all of the new releases until one specifically caught my eye. It spoke to me as if it was placed to where the sunlight could reflect off of it with purpose.

I questioned the polarity of whether or not to purchase the LP, until an employee specifically pointed it out and told me I would regret the day I did not listen to the album.

“You’re taking something so simple, and pushing and pushing it so it becomes something so grand, like this kind of absolute obsession, trying to push it almost to its breaking point.”

A Spiritualized album is anything but low-budget and Jason Pierce (writer, composer and singer of Spiritualized) has his eyes set on the biggest and brightest apple in the tree when it comes to crafting a new album.

By their third album “Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space,” released in 1997, Spiritualized gained momentum as a force to be reckoned with. Even taking the top spot in NME’s Albums of the Year list (New Musical Express, a former British music journalism magazine which is now completely run online), in front of the highly regarded “OK Computer” by Radiohead and “Urban Hymns” by The Verve.

Twenty-one years later, Jason Pierce returns to the spectacle of his emotions and articulate orchestration in “And Nothing Hurt,” the first Spiritualized album since 2012.

As soon as the first track “A Perfect Miracle” hits, I was instantly transported into a vibrating world filled with wonder, sorrow, love, passion and–most of all–musical seniority. Its as if Pierce deconstructed the human sense of sound to rather visualize sound into proportions on a Tolkien level of epicness.

Spiritualized paints a vast and glorious landscape with an endless palette of sound all through Pierce’s eloquent dream-pop composition. It’s desolation of sound creates a feeling of lone wonder, like roaming an endless, undiscovered planet.

“And Nothing Hurt” is not a lyric-heavy piece of art and it strives in that way. It turns simple Sunday-morning lyrics and composition into a grand spectrum of sensation-induced emotions and feeling through Pro-Tools, a digital audio workstation where Pierce gathers up to 200 compositions from any published piece of music per song.

In “The Prize,” Pierce questions his own reality through his age and place in time, illustrating love and free will as head-to-head forces without the ability to completely understand and balance both.

“And maybe/it’s just impossible to know/if I should stay here/with you dear/Stay or if I should go/And I don’t know if love’s to know.”

The longest track (7:42) on the album–“The Morning After”–dashes through its lyrics as if Spiritualized is on the run from reality (or the modern world) and becomes a frenzy of psychedelia space-rock.

The final lyrics are but an introduction to the wild spree of instrumentals.

“Don’t call the morning after/Won’t stop the big disaster/Don’t miss the main event/You gotta pay the rent/You gotta give it all away/And you have gotta go/C’mon c’mon c’mon c’mon we’re living/In the modern world”

At its weakest, “And Nothing Hurt” falls when it comes to its repetitiveness. The ideas and motives of Spiritualized are consistent, only slightly straying away from the ideas of love and loss.

It’s as if Pierce has written the same song nine times over only progressing his feelings throughout the LP with a beginning, middle, climax and finale. The simplicity of the lyrics are outweighed by the galaxy of sound Pierce scores for his audience.

Music provokes emotion and builds off of experience. “Fight the Power” by Public Enemy was produced for Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing” in which they spoke of the lack of social progress and encouraged people to fight back against the machine and racism. Spiritualized knows exactly how to create the world in which it transports the listener and Pierce’s spectacle rides off of the ambitious melody set pieces rather than the words.

The words are merely a tool for the creation of a planet-sized phenomenon of sound.

Although the LP comes off as grandiose at times and never truly is the masterpiece it is striving to be, “And Nothing Hurt” is an extravaganza of experimental space-pop and breaks sound barriers to the point of developing the shoegaze genre further.

Pierce is a master of the art of sound and the scope of the astronomical “And Nothing Hurt” is light years ahead of its time.