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Pure Phase

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Album Review

Much of the reason that the Pure Phase album seemed a tad disappointing upon its 1995 release was that the Electric Mainline teaser EP issued over a year earlier was so fantastic — its three tracks possess an organic vitality and soulful grit that the overly fussy versions reprised on Pure Phase sorely lack. "Good Times" exists at the intersection of cosmic rock & roll and salt-of-the-earth R&B, fusing a chugging, hypnotic guitar riff with backing vocals and horn arrangements channeled from some off-planet franchise of Muscle Shoals Studios. "Lay Back in the Sun" somehow manages to achieve exit velocity despite (or maybe because of) a grinding, circular melody that actually goes nowhere, and the two-part instrumental title cut captures the same arriving-without-traveling zeitgeist. Jason Pierce advises in the liner notes to "play loud 'n' drive fast" — words worth heeding at all times.


Formed: 1989 in Rugby, Warwickshire, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Formed from the ashes of the trance-rockers Spacemen 3, singer/guitarist Jason Pierce's group Spiritualized did not break away from his prior band's trademark hypnotic minimalism; instead, they perfected it. Drawing on the continued influence of the Velvet Underground, La Monte Young, and Steve Reich, Spiritualized staked out a common ground between minimalism and lush symphonics -- while powered by simple, repetitious motifs, their songs simultaneously blossomed into rich, shimmering sonic panoramas...
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