by Joseph Purcell
J. Spaceman returns in resplendent form – armed with an arsenal of enthralling vignettes that propel him back into the foreground.
2018’s And Nothing Hurt welcomed J. Spaceman back after a near six-year hiatus. Intricate arrangements and jarringly bare lyrics reminded us of the remarkable quality of an, at times, overlooked talent. Now back with the optimistically monikered Everything is Beautiful, he takes off into the ether with a seven-track traverse through his beguiling galaxy of sounds.
Sharing similarities with the works of his nineties nadir, Everything is Beautiful is a more explosive affair than recent offerings. Breaking through the delicate restrained murmur of opener and lead single, Always Together With You, comes the vaunting pomposity of Best Thing You Never Had (The D Song) as blues-meets-gospel by way of buzzsaw guitar licks, before album highlight The Mainline Song/The Lockdown Song bursts into focus. A six-minute cacophonous torrent, Spaceman’s vocal strains to break through the deluge of sound, not bowed by its force, but gently teetering on the edge on a momentous outpouring of joy.
The comforting familiarity of Crazy provides a dam to the crashing waves of previous tracks, providing the perfect moment for respite and reflection. Here, Spaceman stands alone at the core, reciting his internal monologue, an open letter to a love he longs to protect, ‘I know you can’t love me now not today; I hope in time that we might find a way, lord knows how time can be cruel.’ Vocally calling into the vast space, ‘Darling, I need you to tell me to stay,’ his rueful tones providing one of the record’s many high points.
Adorning the record’s artwork is a box of prescription medication emblazoned with the Spiritualized label – a hark back to the sleeve of 1997’s Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space – and Everything is Beautiful is the remedy we all need. Spaceman has cast aside the shackles and taken off – once more – on a remarkable record that only he could make.