Music review: Spiritualized, Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow

Spiritualized, with main man Jason Pierce the only permanent fixture
Spiritualized, with main man Jason Pierce the only permanent fixture
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Spiritualized main man Jason Pierce has always worn his influences blatantly and mined them creatively, carving an instantly recognisable sound from the varied yet complementary traditions of gospel supplication, bittersweet pop, cosmic country, garage rock and the ambient soundscapes of prog rock.

Spiritualized, Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow ****

Sometimes the pendulum swings more to cosmic boogie, sometimes to torch balladry, but he has stuck to his stylistic guns over the last 30 years, as demonstrated by this 180-minute sonic rollercoaster of a set delivered with delicacy, precision and a collective mania by a full band.

A trio of soul sisters perfectly complemented Pierce’s plaintive vocals, as heard on the languid southern soul of Shine a Light, where fragility was gradually swamped by an almost religious ecstasy.

It’s a dynamic trick Pierce used repeatedly and effectively, pushing soft, intimate entreaty inexorably to an epic crescendo. The band hit the throttle from the off on the exultant Come Together – not to be confused with the Primal Scream song of the same name and same ilk – but took their time in ramping up the interstellar maelstrom of On The Sunshine, an apocalyptic aural assault which would have been the natural climax of most bands’ sets.

But this was business as usual for Spiritualized, who dusted themselves off to spread the gospel balm of The Prize with a side order of distortion, before finally closing their service with the gentle vespers and then glorious catharsis of Oh Happy Day.

FIONA SHEPHERD