Throughout his 36-year career, whether through Spacemen 3, J Spaceman, or now Spiritualized, Jason Pierce has developed a reputation as a perfectionist. He only unveils new music when he’s completely satisfied, which could lead to lengthy gaps between albums. The latest void lasted 6 years between 2012’s Sweet Heart Sweet Light and this year’s And Nothing Hurt, which makes his current album so rewarding. Not surprisingly, it’s as close to perfection as an album could be.

And Nothing Hurt is an amalgamation of everything that J. Spaceman has shared throughout his career. It’s melodically stunning, cosmically psychedelic, and intimately dreamy. Another way to consider the record – if 2001: A Space Odyssey was a love story, it would probably sound like this. The album commences with the blissful “A Perfect Miracle”. What ensues is akin to an unpredictable roller coaster, and it’s a delirious and wonderful ride.

The elegant yet gritty folk-rock number “I’m Your Man” sees Pierce at his most open and self-deprecating. Adventure awaits on “Here It Comes (The Road) Let’s Go”. With horns booming and a boisterous choir in support, the track is cosmic country perfection and made for road trips. This sense of vulnerability is further accentuated on the light and airy ballad Let’s Dance” and the sombre “Damaged”. The energy picks up again with the oft-kilter rock ‘n roll tune, “On the Sunshine”. Like a father sharing wisdom to his child, he proclaims, “You can always do tomorrow / What you cannot do today”. The intensity and zaniness go to different levels on “The Morning After”, which is boisterous, extremely groovy, and as frenetic as kids in a funhouse.

And Nothing Hurt ends with two gentile numbers. The penultimate track, “The Prize”, is light-hearted and calming while the finale, “Sail on Through”, is absolutely gorgeous. Delicate and floating at the beginning, the song builds into a wonderfully majestic, fairy-tale finale with a fabulous ending.

“If I could hold it down
I would sail on through for you
If I weren’t loaded down
I would sail on through for you.”

Maybe this is Pierce’s last words, which he has stated in the development of And Nothing Hurt. If this should be the case, the legendary singer-songwriter has given the world one last musical adventure to enjoy. He has saved the best for last.

And Nothing Hurt is available via Bella Union and Fat Possum.

To review the first 25 of our Favorite Albums of 2018, click here. The final 25 of our Favorite Albums, meanwhile, is available here.

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