“Gonna be a long ride down/ The best thing you never had,” or “Lay it down, lay it down/ Lay it down and let it bleed” or, on the uber-climactic finale, “I’m coming home again.”
“It fascinates me that rock’n’ roll music is so simplistic,” Pierce says.
“You can say things like, ‘I will always love you’ or ‘Be my baby’ or ‘Love, love me do’. Anybody who’s got a very rudimentary grasp of the language and a few chord shapes should be able to write these things all the time.
“But great songs are extremely rare. They’re elusive because it’s the intent behind it, the force and the seeking; the whatever-it-is that makes it special … I just think it’s so important to try to get it right.”
Pierce is one passionate and focused spaceman. COVID lockdown “felt like something I’d been preparing for all my life,” he says.
He was conscious of the unfolding horror, having been by bilateral pneumonia himself, and now with a daughter working with London’s homeless inhabitants.
But “even with soundproof rooms, most musicians still find they do their best takes late into the night when the rest of the world is calm”.
“It’s almost like you need space to make music. You need this calm, so you can get on with the job of making noise. And I had 24 hours a day of that.”
He had empty streets to wander, too, headphones swimming inside the conundrums of mixing massively expansive recordings proper right down to most impression.
In the highest, he settled on a more than likely pioneering strategy of weaving two grasp mixes collectively for extra oomph. “It reminded me of those old-fashioned amps where you can push an ‘excitement’ button or ‘loudness’ or whatever. You couldn’t really tell what it was doing but it’s doing something, and it’s quite nice to push the button.”
The piece de resistance is the album cowl which, in its bodily incarnation, is an elaborate fold-out pharmaceutical bundle with foil lining and braille messages. The therapy imagery is a throwback to the cover of Ladies and Gentlemen, 25 years prior to now.
“Because it was so beautiful,” he says of the artwork work, “but also, we talked about soma and Brave New World and music as a balm, I guess … music as the best medication. It all seemed to fit.“
Everything Was Beautiful has come into its own on stages across the US and Britain in recent months, Pierce says. “There’s a lot more up rock’n’ roll. It’s the same band but it’s something different. It’s a whole different trip and that’s kind of nice. A smaller ensemble. Kitchen sink ecstasy.”
Spiritualized play the Big Top Luna Park as part of Vivid on June 16, and MAC2, Hobart, as part of Dark Mofo June 17.
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