Let It Come Down (Spiritualized album)

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Let It Come Down
Studio album by Spiritualized
Released 17 September 2001
Recorded mid-2001
Genre Symphonic rock, gospel
Length 63:01
Label Arista
Producer J Spaceman
Spiritualized chronology
Royal Albert Hall 10 October 1997
(1998)
Let It Come Down
(2001)
The Complete Works
(2003)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]
Pitchfork Media (8.4/10)[2]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[3]
RTÉ 3/5 stars[4]

Let It Come Down is the fourth album by the rock band Spiritualized, released in 2001. It was recorded and produced at Abbey Road and AIR Studios. It took Jason Pierce, Spiritualized's lead singer, guitarist and sole constant member four years to write, perform, produce and release. The album utilises 115 session musicians, including orchestra and London Community Gospel Choir. The wall of sound technique (most notably used by 1960s record producer Phil Spector) is evident on this album, especially on such tracks as "Do It All Over Again", "Stop Your Crying", "The Straight and the Narrow" and "Out of Sight".

Background[edit]

Let It Come Down is unusual amongst Spiritualized's other releases in that it doesn't utilise many of the band's usual trademarks, such as guitar effects pedals, free jazz and drones, being a mostly orchestral work. However, it was not unexpected – the album was preceded by the lush soundscapes of previous album Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space, and the live album released in 1998. Pierce also headlined the Edinburgh Flux Festival in 1998 and 1999 playing an orchestral set with a full choir, which hinted at the direction of Let It Come Down. Phil Spector also played a role in the record's sound – Pierce had displayed a liking for Dion's album Born to Be With You, a little-known[citation needed] 1970s effort produced by Spector – he was interviewed with Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream, where the pair enthused about the record. Pierce has also regularly credited big band leaders such as Duke Ellington, the orchestral sound of Ray Charles and Brian Wilson, and gospel music as major influences, and this album could be seen as these coming to prominence over his more psychedelic influences.

Jason Pierce is unable to read music – he wrote all the orchestral parts for the album by singing them into a portable tape recorder, transcribed those to a piano, then helped the players turn those into their specific parts. This also led, several years later, to him humming the music he composed for Silent Sound, an experimental piece for an installation by Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, down the phone to the pair. The final song, "Lord Can You Hear Me," was originally written for and recorded by Spacemen 3 by Jason in 1989 and initially released on the album Playing with Fire. However, inspired by a cover of the song by the band Low, Jason started playing the song live and subsequently re-recorded it as a gospel ballad. Mimi Parker of Low appears on several tracks of the album as a backing vocalist, and is clearly audible duetting with Jason during "Lord Can You Hear Me."

The first leg of the supporting world tour saw Jason use a 13 piece band composed of Spiritualized, a horn section, and a choir. However, in 2002 Jason felt that the extra musicians weighed the show down, and carried on the tour with the regular line-up.

Album cover[edit]

The album was released in two different sleeves – one in a standard jewel case, the other in a much bulkier one-piece box, with the cover image (the wife of the artist) embossed in the case material.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by J Spaceman.

  1. "On Fire" – 4:02
  2. "Do It All Over Again" – 3:48
  3. "Don't Just Do Something" – 6:54
  4. "Out of Sight" – 6:12
  5. "The Twelve Steps" – 4:43
  6. "The Straight and the Narrow" – 5:12
  7. "I Didn't Mean to Hurt You" – 5:14
  8. "Stop Your Crying" – 5:16
  9. "Anything More" – 5:36
  10. "Won't Get to Heaven (The State I'm In)" – 10:34
  11. "Lord Can You Hear Me" – 5:38

Personnel[edit]

Spiritualized:

Additional musicians:

  • Pete Whyman – saxophones, clarinet
  • Mimi Parker – vocals
  • Chris Clark – piano
  • David O'Carroll – tuba
  • Ben Edwards – trumpet
  • Nick Smart – trumpet
  • James Adams – trombone
  • Tamar Osborn – saxophone, clarinet
  • David Temple – saxophone, clarinet
  • First Violins: Edmund Coxon (leader), Cathy Thompson, Jackie Shave, Everton Nelson, Patrick Kiernan, Steve Morris, Ian Humphries, Christina Emanuel, Laura Malhuish
  • Second Violins: Jonathan Rees, Dai Emanuel, Sonia Slaney, Perry Montague-Mason, Miffy Hirsch, Jeremy Morris, Ann Morfee
  • Viola: Roger Chase, Philip Dukes, Bruce White, Kate Musker
  • Cello: David Daniels, Tony Pleeth, Cathy Giles, Jonathan Tunnell
  • Double Bass: Mary Scully, Diane Clarke
  • Cor Anglais: Jane Marshall
  • Bassoon: Gavin McNaughton, Celia Birkenshaw
  • French Horn: Hugh Seenan, Richard Bissel, Nigel Black, Paul Gardham, Dave Lee, Martin Owen, Richard Ashton, Michaela Betts
  • Trumpet: Andy Crowley, Ian Balmain, Bob Farley, Paul Archibald, Paul Beniston
  • Tombone: Graham Lee, Colin Sheen, Peter Davies, Mike Hext, Roger Brenner
  • Bass Trombone: David Stewart, Roger Argente, Andy Waddicor
  • Flute/Alto flute and Bass flute: Dave Health, Andy Findon
  • Contra-bass flute: Andy Findon
  • Oboe: Chris Cowie, Margaret Tindal
  • Clarinet: Anthony Pike, Richard Addison
  • Bass Clarinet: David Fuest
  • Harp: Helen Tunstall

Additional vocals:

  • Nigel Short – counter tenor
  • Emer McParland – alto
  • Sarah Eyden – soprano
  • Simon Grant – bass
  • Andrew Busher – tenor
  • Michael Dore – bass
  • Heather Cairncross – alto
  • Andrew Gray – tenor
  • Jacqueline Barron – soprano
  • Rachel Weston – alto
  • Gerard O'Beirne – tenor
  • London Community Gospel Choir: Wendi Rose, Wayne Hernandez, Jenny Graham, Donovan Keith Lawrence, Vernetta Meade, Jenny La Touche, Aaron Paul Sokell, Travis Jae Cole, Vimbai Shire, Samantha Smith, Irene Forrester, Carmen Smart, Michelle John-Douglas, Jasette Barratt
  • Choir Director: Daniel Thomas

Reception[edit]

Q listed Let It Come Down as one of the best 50 albums of 2001.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ Pitchfork Media review
  3. ^ Rolling Stone review
  4. ^ Gleeson, Sinéad. "Review: Spiritualized – Let It Come Down". RTÉ.ie. Retrieved 28 June 2009. 
  5. ^ "The Best 50 Albums of 2001". Q. December 2001. pp. 60–65.