SPACEMEN, SPIRITUALIZED, SPECTRUM
Let me start off by saying that Spacemen 3 made some good music: whether elemental, fuzzed-up and wasted, or minimal, pretty and wasted, their drugnoise tended towards the definitely cool. Except then they had to sing stuff over it.
If there was ever proof that chemicals kill braincells, Spacemen 3’s lyrics are it. They’re not even laughable, they’re just an endless tedious grind of rockmyth nonsense. Stuck in expensive Rugby houses with little to do but play records and take drugs, they wrote songs about playing records and taking drugs. Spacemen 3 were entertaining, but meant fuck all, a stubborner Mary Chain without the pop sense. Their own songs were dreary pharmacopias, their cover songs rambling dope epics: never has the adage “Take, don’t talk” been more apt.
To give them credit, after a record or two of this stuff both the main Spacemen felt the need to move on. Sonic Boom chose politics, creating “Revolution”, surely one of the most excruciating indie records ever: atop savage noise his puny voice called the kids to rise up, trying to sound enraged but mostly just sounding piqued, as if his pocket money had been taken away or he’d been stopped from swearing in the queue for school lunch. Jason Spaceman got religion, meanwhile, or at least some vague spirituality he’d picked up from a couple of old gospel records, leading to an endless series of songs which made very explicit the connection between “Lord” and “bored”.
But at least you had the music: once Spacemen 3 split, it became a bit harder to make that claim. Jason’s Spiritualized outfit made slow, repetitive Radox music which hit formula status a minute into every song (sometimes you got a ‘loud bit’ too), then ended up writing vast windy songs called things like “Medication” and “Broken Heart”. which Jason would spend his infrequent interviews claiming were not about drugs or breaking up. Sonic Boom, meanwhile, formed Spectrum and put out a few echoey cover-versions. He soon settled down to a career of making imaginary tribute records to his favourite electronic pioneers, which proved exactly as pointless as me writing this piece on Univac would be. On the mercifully few occasions he does write lyrics, they tend to be about how alienated from society he is. Plus ca fuckin’ change