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Beat Jab: Of Monsters and Men, Spiritualized

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Beat Jab offers reviews in prose poetry form from 2011 Eugene & Marilyn Glick Indiana Emerging Author Award winner Micah Ling.

Of Monsters and Men
My Head is an Animal
Universal
★ ★ ★ ★

Sometimes you hear a young band, and they're doing everything right, and they're almost there: they've almost found themselves. Their personality, their confidence, their sound. It's a good feeling; you know they'll likely make it. They'll likely be a big deal. And then sometimes you hear a young band (enter Of Monsters and Men) and it's chills, because they're already there. Young and nailing it. They're doing music better than the thing you're best at. But just hearing them light it up with their first studio album, fills you with the kind of excitement that makes you a part of it. The momentum of this album is impressive: just packed with energy and solid hooks. It's no wonder that KEXP recorded a session with them after hearing their performance for the Icelandic Airwaves festival. They echo The Head and The Heart, Arcade Fire, and The Decemberists, but there's something more here: something hearty and raw. That trumpet. Most of the shows that they've booked for the spring/summer have already sold out. Keep an eye out though, there will certainly be more; and I'd be willing to bet that they put on a brilliant live show. Here they come.

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Spiritualized
Sweet Heart Sweet Light
Fat Possum
★ ★ ★ ½

Spritualized's seventh album, Sweet Heart Sweet Light has a pretty remarkable story: it sparks serious curiosity, even before hearing a single track. Frontman Jason Pierce (J. Spaceman) found out that he was suffering from liver disease just before making the album. He agreed to a variety of experimental medicines and treatments. So, that's the setting: basically homebound and trying to mend himself for a year. Originally the album was going to be called Huh? because Pierce basically didn't know what he was doing. But, it ends up sounding completely put together: not all over the place, not at all annoying. Anger, yes: a sort of charge that comes with not knowing how long you have to do something - like live - let alone create an album. You can't help but think that the circumstances had a role in the sort of magnificent sound to this record. Incredibly, (compared to some of the past albums), this sounds more organized: more refined. The circumstances, no doubt, allowed Pierce (who tends to be known as a perfectionist) to do even more tweaking than usual. "Hey Jane," is absolutely rocking: a radio song. But fans of the haunting sounds won't be disappointed, either. It's all here.

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