I'll be the first to admit that Let It Come Down isn't exactly the most varied release, especially when compared to Spiritualized last true album Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space. That album had enough highs and lows and peaks and valleys to make even non drug users like myself feel a bit woozy. It was a brilliant release, and the group was onto some good things that they continued in an amazing live performance of Live At Royal Albert Hall.
Of course, that was several years ago, and in that time nearly everyone left the band but the main man J. Spaceman. There were times when it sounded like the group would simply cease to be, but finally this newest release surfaced to nearly not quite the fanfare you might expect for something that involved so many people. While it's true that several members of Spiritualized ceded from the group and formed the Spiritualized-esque Lupine Howl, Mr. Spaceman himself didn't feel the need to tone things down one bit. In fact, this release is even more lush from end-to-end than their last effort, and I think that even though many tracks sort of follow the same formula (and a couple of them sound almost exactly like tracks off other releases), it's hard not to get wrapped up in a song when there is not only an orchestra and wailing guitars behind it, but a full chorus rocking out gospel style.
For the most part, the freakouts are gone on Let It Come Down. If Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space was the album in which the user was fighting with addiction, then this release is the period afterwards where things have simply been accepted with almost gleeful abandon and even tracks filled with contemplation are downright uplifting. The album starts out with "On Fire," and despite some slight variations, it's basically a carbon copy of "Electricity." It gets the album off with a rollicking start before "Do It All Over Again" manages to keep things at a nice mid-tempo pace while Spaceman sings almost happily about "burning holes in everything that I own" but of course going right back to the habit.
After introducing the choral backing with "Don't Just Do Something," it breaks out to full effect on "Out Of Sight." One of the loudest tracks on the entire disc, the lush song is literally packed to the gills with a full orchestra backing including horns, as well as a nice wall of guitar feedback and even a sprinkling of chimes over it all for icing. By the time the full crescendo is hit at the end, you'll be hard-pressed not to find yourself singing along with Spaceman as he says, "If I am good I could add some years to my life/I would rather add some life to my years."
From there out, the album doesn't add a whole lot of new tricks to the bag ("The Twelve Steps" sounds like an extended version of the earlier "On Fire" did), but damned if it doesn't manage to sound as majestic as hell. While some bands have obviously gone the orchestral route and not done much with it, Spaceman makes the most of the heavily layered sounds on nearly every track and the dips and swells are gorgeous most of the time. The tracks aren't quite as gospel-sounding as "Cool Waves" (although "Won't Get To Heaven (The State I'm In)" makes a good run of it) from Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space, but they still manage to sweep you in. If you liked the more experimental sounds (like the freakouts) of the group, you might find this release lacking a bit in the originality department. The lyrical themes of the tracks are still drugs, relationships and questioning of faith, but Spaceman just sounds happier in general throughout the release, and the music reflects it. The turmoil might have made for slightly better music, but this is still some excellent stuff.