22 Songs, 1 Hour, 59 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Playing With Fire represents the apotheosis of Spacemen 3. “Revolution” brought a career of fuzz-infested climaxes to its conclusion, while “Honey” and “I Believe It” unified Pete Kember’s drone-rock obsession with Jason Pierce’s passion for gospel music. “Lord Can You Hear Me” and “May the Circle Be Unbroken” are sublime examples of the gift this band of British druggies had for refashioning gospel in its own image, but the real songwriting growth was embodied in Pierce’s “So Hot (Wash Away All of My Tears).” Sad and disarmingly sensual, the song finds Spacemen 3 transcending their influences and inhabiting the spirit of blues and soul music. A sprawling, melodramatic opus, Playing With Fire is the album Pete Kember and Jason Pierce had been reaching for since Spacemen 3’s beginnings, and its completion signaled not only the pinnacle of the band’s vision, but the beginning of two divergent musical paths for the its twin masterminds.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Playing With Fire represents the apotheosis of Spacemen 3. “Revolution” brought a career of fuzz-infested climaxes to its conclusion, while “Honey” and “I Believe It” unified Pete Kember’s drone-rock obsession with Jason Pierce’s passion for gospel music. “Lord Can You Hear Me” and “May the Circle Be Unbroken” are sublime examples of the gift this band of British druggies had for refashioning gospel in its own image, but the real songwriting growth was embodied in Pierce’s “So Hot (Wash Away All of My Tears).” Sad and disarmingly sensual, the song finds Spacemen 3 transcending their influences and inhabiting the spirit of blues and soul music. A sprawling, melodramatic opus, Playing With Fire is the album Pete Kember and Jason Pierce had been reaching for since Spacemen 3’s beginnings, and its completion signaled not only the pinnacle of the band’s vision, but the beginning of two divergent musical paths for the its twin masterminds.

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Customer Reviews

5 out of 5

15 Ratings

15 Ratings

none

ibison4

This is the best Spacemen 3 album.

none

just ted

This is the best Spacemen 3 album

How Does it Feel?

Phyllis Gallagher

Well.....Astounding

About Spacemen 3

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 tempo and key. Though this approach was challenging, often bordering on the avant-garde, Spacemen 3 nevertheless gained a dedicated cult following. After releasing several albums in the late '80s, the band fell apart after in 1991.

In 1982, Sonic Boom (guitar, organ, vocals; born Pete Kember on November 19, 1965) and Jason Pierce (guitar, organ, vocals; also born November 19, 1965) formed Spacemen 3 in Rugby, Warwickshire, England. Sonic Boom and Pierce added a rhythm section comprised of Pete Baines and Rosco, and spent the next four years rehearsing and jamming. In 1986, the group released its debut album, Sound of Confusion, on Glass Records. At first the band sounded a bit like a punked-up garage rock band, but their music quickly evolved into their signature trance-like neo-psychedelia. Spacemen 3's second album, 1987's The Perfect Prescription, was the first to capture the group's distinctive style.

Following 1989's Playing With Fire, Baines and Rosco left the group to form their own band, the Darkside. They were replaced by Will Carruthers and Jon Mattock. Despite the addition of new blood to its lineup, the band was beginning to fray because of in-fighting between Sonic Boom and Pierce, as well as the former's increasing drug dependency. The new lineup struggled through a final album, 1991's Recurring, which featured Boom's songs on side one and Pierce's on side two. By the time of the release of Recurring, Pierce was performing with Carruthers and Mattock in a new band called Spiritualized. Shortly after the release of Recurring, Spacemen 3 split, and Spiritualized became Pierce's full-time band, eventually earning a cult following of its own. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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