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Spiritualized... Live at the Royal Albert Hall (deConstruction Records)

I think I'm in love. Spiritualized's second live album is almost a definitive guide to their musical sketching of aural paintings. Each song ends in a cacophony of noise or an unrecognisable melody before a shimmering chord can be heard above it all, aural layers are added and suddenly it's another song.

CD1 mixes the underrated genius of "Lazer Guided Melodies" and "Pure Phase" with the immediacy of songs like 'Electricity' and 'The individual'. CD2 is almost a microcosm of life. Jason Pierce realises there's 'No God Only Religion', suffers a 'Broken heart', urges us to 'Come Together', realises 'I think I'm in love', espouses his belief that a cop shooting another cop leads to his reincarnation before finally experiencing a happy day.

One of the most disappointing things about the album is its packaging. Having been treated before to a glow in the dark cover, a jewel box, and a pill packet, the plain red box is an anti-climax. Perhaps the Spaceman's nervous exhaustion is impairing his creativity. 'Broken Heart' though is the major letdown; it never gets close to the emotional intensity of the "Ladies and Gentleman..." version.

For Spititualized the drugs do work; without them their music could never exist. Keyboardist Kate Radley, whose non-appearances are becoming increasingly inconsequential, would do well to tell that to hubby Richard Ashcroft.

by Neil Callanan