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Live In Europe 1989

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Album Review

Recorded over four nights in Germany during what turned out to be Spacemen 3's final tour, Live in Europe 1989 is far better than the more ragged earlier Spacemen 3 live album, 1988's Performance. The album's also notable for documenting the group's short-lived quartet lineup, with bassist Willie Carruthers and drummer Jon Mattock. Despite the change in rhythm sections, the focus is, as always, on guitarists Pete Kember and Jason Pierce, who by this point in the group's career aren't even pretending to be interesting in standard verse-chorus-verse structure. Rather surprisingly, only one of the 13 tracks — a 16-minute take on Playing With Fire's centerpiece track, "Suicide" — breaks the ten-minute barrier that was so often smashed through on the group's studio recordings, but there's still an epic, expansive feel to these loose, perfectly ragged performances. Although newcomers are advised to start with Playing With Fire or Recurring, Live in Europe 1989 is essential for fans. A shortened version of this was released on Bomp Records in 1995 under the title Spacemen Are Go! The missing tracks are a murmuring version of the single "Take Me to the Other Side" and an inconsequential seven-minute alternate take of "Suicide."

Biography

Formed: 1982 in Rugby, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s

Spacemen 3 were psychedelic in the loosest sense of the word; their guitar explorations were colorfully mind-altering, but not in the sense of the acid rock of the '60s. Instead, the band developed its own minimalistic psychedelia, relying on heavily distorted guitars to clash and produce their own harmonic overtones; frequently, they would lead up to walls of distortion with overamplified acoustic guitars and synths. Often the band would jam on one chord or play a series of songs, all in the same...
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