Metascore
81

Universal acclaim - based on 38 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 38
  2. Negative: 1 out of 38
  1. Apr 18, 2012
    100
    Truly, Sweet Heart, Sweet Light is one of those gorgeous things and, if nothing else, the most profound late statement Spaceman has given us in a decade.
  2. 90
    Sweet Heart, Sweet Light covers a broad aural spectrum from surrealistic haze to outward pop and as such, is some of Jason Pierce's and Spiritualized's best material since Ladies and Gentlemen.
  3. May 10, 2012
    89
    Broken never sounded so divine.
  4. Apr 16, 2012
    88
    This is probably the most uplifting album of his career... Exhilarating.
  5. Apr 25, 2012
    85
    Past albums might have romanticized drugs and booze as the way out, but here it's music, and the album feels more healing as a result, even if its ode to the sweet sounds that came before it presents its own complications and delusions.
  6. All ten of the songs here are grandiose and muscular in the great tradition of Spiritualized songs.
  7. Mar 20, 2012
    85
    The heady combination of orchestral maneuvers, spiritual posturing and drone-imbued psychedelia make this a seductive listening experience. [No. 85, p.56]
  8. May 2, 2012
    84
    It's easily one of the strongest efforts of 2012 thus far.
  9. Apr 17, 2012
    83
    From its opening moments, in fact, Sweet Heart packs in one of Pierce's most impressive works yet.
  10. Apr 25, 2012
    80
    Draws out the same intense emotional responses as that first album [Lazer Guided Melodies] but in a post 1997 Ladies and Gentleman... way. [May 2012, p.92]
  11. Apr 20, 2012
    80
    Pierce cloaks these songs in white with a sort of pious ecstasy.
  12. Apr 18, 2012
    80
    Sweet Heart Sweet Light isn't the best thing to bear the Spiritualized name but when Pierce aims for epic emotion as on "Get What You Want," his affectingly plaintive vocal sandwiched between Visconti strings and buzzing organ, the continued potency of his vision is evident. [Mar 2012, p.65]
  13. Apr 18, 2012
    80
    In many ways, Sweet Heart is the most complete Spiritualized album yet.
  14. Apr 16, 2012
    80
    This is the best and most complete set of songs Spiritualized have made since Ladies And Gentlemen.
  15. Apr 16, 2012
    80
    Complex, thought provoking and undeniably engaging.
  16. Apr 16, 2012
    80
    Pierce claims Sweet Heart Sweet Light is the kind of pop album a singer makes when youth is well behind him, and that might be true, but the album's search for deliverance is timeless and ultimately uplifting.
  17. 80
    Sweet Heart Sweet Light is infused with an uplifting lust for life.
  18. Apr 13, 2012
    80
    One of the most brilliantly chaotic, mesmerising albums you'll hear all year.
  19. Apr 12, 2012
    80
    There's a life-affirming sense of vigour, the sound of an artist who knows what he does best and is going to keep on doing it: grandiose, powerful rock'n'roll songs that contain uplifting gospel choirs and the sense that life can indeed be saved, or at least soothed, through music.
  20. Apr 12, 2012
    80
    There's still nothing particularly radio-friendly here and plenty of weirdness to go around, but more than ever the free jazz influences and pulsating drones seem designed to serve the song and not just enhance the listener's physical sensations.
  21. Apr 11, 2012
    80
    This is a Spiritualized album down to its marrow, replete with the Velvet Underground-meets-Brian Wilson melodies, symphonic crescendos and widescreen riffs that Pierce has made his own since the beginning.... and [it's] a great one.
  22. Mar 28, 2012
    80
    Pierce's vocals and playing reach higher and push farther forward than they did on previous albums. [Apr 2012, p.98]
  23. Mar 21, 2012
    80
    Another resounding triumph for Pierce. [March 2012, p.79]
  24. Apr 18, 2012
    76
    Those who have spent endless hours tripping to various corners of the universe with Spiritualized on the stereo might be surprised by how earnest and grounded the great Spaceman sounds here.
  25. Apr 16, 2012
    75
    There's nothing sappy or draggy about the music, though. It can be crushing and corrosive, with just a hint of sweetness and hope. That tension suits Pierce.
  26. Mar 28, 2012
    75
    There's some obligatory Velvet Underground deference, like the jumpy "Hey Jane," but for the most part the new disc is more in line with the soaring sing-a-long brilliance of "So Long You Pretty Things" and the simplistic "Too Late."
  27. Apr 23, 2012
    70
    Sweet Heart's melancholy tunes are still grand, their orchestras soaring and their choruses rousing, even Phil Spector-orian in the epic kink, but they're more tightly wound than on previous efforts.
  28. Apr 17, 2012
    70
    On songs like the acid-funk "I Am What I Am," co-written with Dr. John, he shows he can scale back with equal power, making lush sounds for lean times.
  29. Apr 17, 2012
    70
    This uneven album takes time to break in, but each successive spin deepens the relationships among the songs and reveals more details.
  30. 70
    It's the longer, wilder but more melodically repetitive screes that dominate the album, throwbacks to Spacemen 3's space freakouts that excite sonically but outstay welcomes like a nasal harmonica player.
  31. Apr 10, 2012
    70
    It's grandiose--slouchy, broody, mock-churchy, self-pitying.
  32. Apr 4, 2012
    70
    On the whole this is a sanguine and at times even sentimental record, [May 2012, p.76]
  33. Apr 24, 2012
    60
    Feels like reconnecting with a well-loved school friend on Facebook and finding that he's barely changed his clothes, let alone his ideas: a pleasure but not quite a thrill. [May 2012, p.100]
  34. Apr 18, 2012
    60
    Written while Jason Pierce was on tour performing Ladies and Gentlemen...We Are Floating in Space in its entirety, Spiritualized's seventh full-length echoes not only that album, but Songs in A & E and Amazing Grace.
  35. Apr 11, 2012
    60
    It is, all in all, a pretty solid front half of a Spiritualized album that sort of transmits intermittently in the middle and then totally falls on its arse for the last three tracks.
  36. Apr 9, 2012
    60
    Throughout Sweet Heart Sweet Light, the lyrics are as thin as the songs are bare, and with lines like "Don't play with fire and you'll never get burned," the band feels dangerously close to becoming a parody of itself.
  37. Apr 16, 2012
    40
    Sweet Heart Sweet Light is another one of these perfectly serviceable Spiritualized albums.... But there's a lot of old rope here, let down further by Pierce's singing.
  38. Apr 16, 2012
    30
    Not only does Sweet Heart Sweet Light hit all patented Spiritualized thematic buttons squarely between the eyes – religion, drugs, sickness and redemption – it is also a record that covers everything with a Wyoming sized scoop of full-fat icky sentiment.
User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 17 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 5
  2. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. Apr 17, 2012
    5
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. If you've heard the previous three Spiritualized albums, then you've already heard Sweet Heart Sweet Light. The album sounds more uplifting than the previous three albums, but the overall sound is dull. More songs about God, Jesus, the Lord, something set on fire, something being on a roll, about how he's not getting into heaven, etc.. That said, there are four good songs on the album and "Hey Jane" is by far the best song I've heard in years. Too bad the album goes downhill after track 2. Full Review »
  2. Jun 10, 2012
    10
    I've been thinking about this album a lot, which qualifies Jason Spaceman for some kind of lifetime achievement award, or as another critic suggested, a "public service" honor. My first inclination is to compare it to other albums by Spiritualized, because I found myself thinking once this one managed to sink in for what it "is," "this is as good as Pure Phase [my favorite on there being 'These Blues'] and Lazer Guided Melodies." This means a lot, seeing I've been following all the records and seeing the live shows over the last few years, and these thoughts just didn't come up even though I liked what I was hearing each time, a lot. Most people prefer "Ladies and Gentlemen..." above the other LPs, which has some of the best moments in Spiritualized, no doubt. I generally like abstraction, so high points for me have been "Pure Phase" and "Lazer Guided Melodies" (to give the reader some idea, I adore Slowdive's last album "Pygmalion" - very abstract). And I prefer the recently released demos for "Ladies and Gentlemen" a bit more than the actual album, which in parts has always been a little too polished for me, notwithstanding the brilliance of "Come Together" or "Cop Shoot Cop," say. Anyway, this new album I have concluded is among the top four Spiritualized albums - it's the fourth added to the three top-tier entries, in my view, already mentioned, and maybe even the top one; this one seals the deal, a deal I didn't even realize needed to be sealed beforehand. "Sweet Heart, Sweet Light" is probably best seen not in comparison to the others, however, but as a capstone - a real capstone, not the kind of "capstone" administrators want to sign you up for. "I Am What I Am" is one of the finest tautological moments in recent rock n roll, and is on par with "Cop Shoot Cop," to which Dr. John also added piano. The last track, "So Long You Pretty Thing" - whose appeals to Jesus with a new genuineness at first threw me entirely (I was like "huh?" as on the cover) - is perhaps the finest thing Jason Spacemen has ever written. There is a new depth here represented perfectly by the very end of "Hey Jane" where after a set of "Nah Nahs" he and others sing "Sweet heart, sweet light, sweet heart and love of my life." This album takes at least a dozen listens to sink in; even those "Nah Nahs," which for me now are like gates opening up to paradise in the here and now, seemed trite to me on the first few listens ; indeed "Hey Jane" sounded repetitive and lazy to me the first few listens until it came together for me subjectively; now I see it for what it "is" - the mark of an album opened as phenomenally as it is closed ("So Long You Pretty Thing"). When you read very negative reviews of this album, they echo some of my own initial impressions, about how the lyrics are cliched (wishing "one could fly," say), or about fitting a particular Spiritualized prescription we know a bit too well. But here I think you might be hearing from people who didn't give this album enough time. Unlike those who filed a review before giving a nice amount of time, consider giving it two to three weeks, and I'm convinced if Rolling Stone had listened a few more weeks, they would have given this album at least four stars rather than three and a half, which is strong for them as is. The album is stellar. I'd like to point out the wonderfully consistent approach to the lyrics in "I Am What I Am," where things are turned inside out over and over, which is beautifully dialectical (kind of like turning a glove inside out) - "I am the road that drives the cars," for example. There is a conceptual consistency to the lyrics in this song that easily qualifies it as contemporary art; that said, there's a beauty that everyone can get this for ten to twenty five dollars unlike Damien Hirst's prints, say. I disagree that there is nothing new lyrically here: there is a greater variety of entry points to reality and emotions than on earlier records and a (still sophisticated) hope that has me listening to earlier Spiritualized records and thinking "I'm really into where they are right now... I'm happy for them." Also, the references to having "wasted time," 'for real', on this album are new lyrically, matched with a gritty honesty that's also new. Lastly, if you can see them play this one live, do. They played "Stay with me" nestled within these new songs recently. In this case you could hear the new material beginning to "infect" the earlier music in the best way imaginable. Spaceman's vocals at the end of "Stay with me" felt more raw and driven by heart-felt content than on past records, and that's saying something I never thought I'd say. To pay Jason Spaceman a compliment on his own terms, with new album I can finally separate him, as author, from every song he has ever written, and I like what I'm hearing; sounds like best of 2012 to me. Full Review »
  3. May 26, 2012
    8
    Already highly successful classical intro introduces effectively in the climate of the Spiritualized's album - "Sweet Heart Sweet Light". Songs like "Hey Jane" or "I Am What I Am" show the best side of the space rock, which was also on the disc enriched with elements of neo-psychedelia, while more subdued songs - such as "Mary", "Freedom" or "Too Late" are characterized by insertions deriveng from classic rock. Full Review »