First, yes. Yes we have heard the new album. Is it as good as some people are saying it is? Depends, really. On its own merit, it’s an incredibly powerful piece of work–as personal as Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space–and some of Jason’s best songwriting. But compared to the rest of the catalog, it’s a bit different. Unlike the other albums, it actually sounds like it was written on Earth–sort of. A more accurate description would be “it sounds like it was written just as someone was leaving Earth.”

I tell my friends Songs in A+E sounds best if listened through the eyes of a man knocking on Death’s door. There are all sorts of themes related to death (and conversely, life) on the album, and it’s absolutely beautiful. Whether he’s pleading that he’s not ready to go yet or accepting of getting his wings and lyre (or horns and pitchfork), Jason Pierce takes a really long look at life and death and the result is brilliant.

There’s a fantastic (and ultra-fucking rare) interview with Jason from the middle of last month–a must read for Spiritualized fans–and he pretty much lays it out there when recalling his 2005 near-death experience with a rare form of pneumonia.

“Being in intensive care was actually OK for me. You just have to surrender yourself to the doctor. It’s hard to think about your own death so the concern is invested in the people around you, not your own kind of thing, ’cause you’re lying there thinking, ‘This is all right. Well, not all right but… I’ve been here before.’ In intensive care wards there’s five or six of you in the same room,’ he continues, ‘and everyone’s got optics and life support machines and they’re all bleeping at different times and different frequencies. The only things I can remember are the noises around me. The not-really-true memories, you forget all that kind of shit. One by one, everybody else in the room died and I remember thinking, ‘Well, somebody’s got to get out of here alive.'”

There’s a new BBC video with Jason talking about making the video for “Soul on Fire,” which was filmed in Iceland and–well why don’t you just watch him describe it himself.

Songs in A+E comes out in early June. Do yourself a favor and buy it.

Spiritualized–Soul on Fire (Acoustic Mainlines, San Francisco)
Spiritualized–Baby I’m Just a Fool (Acoustic Mainlines, San Francisco)

Web site–Spiritualized.com