Spiritualized
"Royal Albert Hall October 10 1997 Live"

by aron

Well, the title should say it all. I donít think that Iím alone in thinking that a live album is an unlikely choice from a band like Spiritualized, but here is it, or rather, here they are: two discs of the bandís performance at Royal Albert Hall from a couple years ago. If youíre unfamiliar with Spiritualized, I suggest you run out right now and buy "Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space," quite possibly the best album of 1997. In a nutshell, the band plays a little bit of everything. Think Sonic Youthís "Washing Machine" with strings and horns. This eclectic attitude can be felt on the live album as well.

Disc One kicks off with a stirring rendition of "Oh Happy Day" which evolves (or devolves, depending on your opinion) into a symphony of noise. The selections that follow include older songs like "Shine a Light" and an incredible version of "Home of the Brave." The second disc, however, is where the band truly shines. Mainly showcasing about half of the songs from Ladies and Gentlemen, this half contains possibly the albumís most amazing moment, a this-might-make-you-cry, string-laced version of "Broken Heart." The live version of "I Think Iím in Love" is also very cool, heavily incorporating the use of backup singers and horn section. Another highlight of this disc is (for me) a somewhat unexpected performance of the sixteen minute-plus closer to "Ladies and Gentlemen," "Cop Shoot CopÖ." The chaos ends with a second performance of "Oh Happy Day" closing off the album, and again demonstrating the variety shown on this album.

Live albums are usually looked upon as collectorís items, but this one goes far beyond that generalization. Pick it up if youíre in the mood for something experimental. However, if this is the first Spiritualized album you buy, be warned: it may take a few listens to appreciate it completely.


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