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Pop Music Review

Spiritualized Fills the Void With Ritualistic Musical Noise

November 15, 2001|Marc Weingarten

With most devotional music, a performance with the right combination of truth and beauty is supposed to break away from the corporeal and entwine itself with the divine. Jason Pierce, whose music is constantly searching for answers to life's big questions, has a slightly different approach: He wants to fill his psychic void with enough noise to blot out the pain.

At the Wiltern Theatre on Tuesday, the Englishman led his band Spiritualized through a stirring ritual of clamor and catharsis, finding succor in a mad tempest of majestic rock. Pierce's musical vision is grand and expansive. In addition to the seven members of the core band, he utilized six horn players and six choral singers.

With such a large palette to work with, Pierce moved from tender, almost hymnal melodies to towering sonic thunderclaps. Songs crested, only to crash down and settle into an uneasy calm. Nothing in Pierce's world is easily won; his spiritual entreaties, which seamlessly buzzed into one another, took their time to reach their ecstatic peaks, and the band never abandoned an idea without teasing out all of its sonic possibilities. Through it all, Pierce's quivering voice stood at the still center of Spiritualized's epic drones, expressing self-doubt and an ache of faithlessness.

Marc Weingarten

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