Jason Pierce is weighing up the news that the third Spiritualized album, 1997’s Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space, has secured a spot on the list of the greatest albums released in the 25-year life span of Uncut. “It’s nice, and I do like the album,” says Pierce of a record that many regard as his masterpiece. “It was lots of ups and downs, and some things came easier than others. Some of the goal is to make it believable at the end, but the whole thing is a construct. Smoke and mirrors. That’s the joy of recording.”
“I Think I’m In Love”, the album’s eight-minute opus, is featured on this month’s covermount CD. Although an edited version of the track was later released as the second single from the album, the full-blown album cut offers unfettered access to Spiritualized at their most ecstatic, electric and eclectic.
Partly inspired by epic multi-part song suites by The Beach Boys and The Velvet Underground, “I Think I’m In Love” is a game of two halves. The opening section is a blissed-out space ballad buffeted by dub, soul and American blues stylings, the brooding bassline and synth drones vying with harmonica, melodica and slide guitar streaks. Pierce’s dazed vocals deepen the disassociated feel before the song clicks into focus. The drums find a groove, horns flare and vocals snap, as the singer engages in what Spiritualized guitarist John Coxon calls “a personal dialectic” between swaggering braggadocio and small-hours self-doubt: “I think I’m on fire”, he sings. “Probably just smoking”. The second guessing in the words was, at least partly, authentic self-expression. “There was quite a lot of turmoil [within the band] at the time, but the lyrics aren’t specifically about Jason and his emotional state,” says Coxon. “They’re about the human condition. We all have those insecurities.”
Most of the legwork on both the track and the album was done at Moles Studio in Bath in the summer of 1995, first by Pierce and bassist Sean Cook, before they convened the band to turn embryonic ideas into fully fledged songs, often keeping elements from the demos. After that, Pierce – a notorious perfectionist – worried away at the detail for over a year, obsessing even over the ambitious medical-themed design. “Time is the key to it all,” he says. “If you have enough time, you can achieve anything. I’m not very good at just accepting ‘that’ll do’. I don’t hold to that. I enjoy pushing and pulling things around until you have something that is quite extraordinary.” Time has vindicated his painstaking diligence.