SPIRITUALIZED Amazing Grace (Sanctuary) Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
For most artists, the concept of recording a stripped-down record means acoustic guitars and maybe some funky hand percussion. For Jason Pierce, stripped down means a brass quintet rather than a full orchestra. In light of his recent big-band efforts, Amazing Grace is a relatively streamlined Spiritualized record, with the focus on energy and aggression rather than dense layers. The return to a kind of Spacemen 3-style clattering garage sound would have been an interesting idea had all the songs not sounded like new versions of Spiritualized's Electricity. For all his ambitions to slim down, the best tracks here are the most overblown, like the deliberately grandiose Hold On.