This neo-psychedelic band was formed by J. Spaceman aka Jason Pierce in Rugby, in 1990. Pierce was previously in Spacemen 3, and took the remnants of the band with him, namely Mark Refoy (guitar), Will Carruthers (bass) and Jon Mattock (drums), later adding keyboard player Steve Evans.
Spiritualized's first release was a cover version of Chip Taylor's Anyway ‘That You Want Me’, followed by ‘Feel So Sad’, a sonic opera lasting over 13 minutes. Evans was soon replaced by Pierce's girlfriend Kate Radley.
Headliners at ICA's Irn Bru Rock Week, Spiritualized’s familiar Velvet Underground guitar noise/dream pop found favour with old Spacemen 3 fans as well as new converts, and their debut album, ‘Lazer Guided Melodies’, was widely regarded as one of the best of 1992.
A live album arrived in 1993, after which sessions began on a second album. In the meantime Pierce discovered an connection with some of the 90s ambient house artists, working on remixes for LFO and Global Communication.
‘Pure Phase’ finally arrived in 1995, going some way to accommodating its protagonist's assertion that he wanted to make "a record so beautiful it brings a tear to your eye". The best example of this approach to creating elegiac pop was 'All Of My Tears', with strings provided by the Balanescu Quartet. Of the original band, Carruthers had left in 1992 to form Freelovebabies, while Refoy and Mattock played on ‘Pure Phase’ before departing, the former going on to front Slipstream.
Further personnel changes saw guitarists Kevin Cowen and John Coxon pass through the line-up, which by late 1997 featured Cook, Radley, Mike Mooney (guitar), Damon Reece (drums) and Ray Dickaty (saxophone).
The aptly-titled ‘Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space’ was Pierce's finest distillation yet. The album was crammed full of influences that sounded refreshing rather than plagiarist. The album was one of the musical highlights of 1997, and also featured one of the most original and cleverly designed album sleeves of the 90s.
Following the release of a live album, the notoriously fickle Pierce dismissed most of his former bandmates, including Radley (who had married Richard Ashcroft in 1995). While Mooney, Cook and Reece regrouped as Lupine Howl, Pierce returned to the studio to record ‘Let It Come Down’, which was released in 2001.
Pierce contracted advanced periorbital cellulitis with bilateral pneumonia in 2005 and almost died, but he recovered to complete his first solo album the following year, ‘Guitar Loops’.
The next Spiritualized album was already half completed when Pierce had fallen ill, but it was not until two years later that he felt confident enough to return to the project and finish up the recording.
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