For All the Fucked-Up Children of This World We Give You Spacemen 3
Sympathy For The Record Industry, 1995
“For all the fucked-up children of this world, we give you Spacemen 3…” the title speaks. Having heard the band’s content, I suggest it to be continued: “…and we’ll make you see what fucked-up really means.” Jason Pierce’s endless yearning for an imperishable bliss (often either love or faith) in a state of constant vulnerability, anguish and anxiety, with blood full of drugs—unfriendly ones—caressed in a suicidal temptation, makes it enough to see what mood Spacemen 3 has: certainly not a cheerful one.
If you want to put a label on it, Spacemen 3’s music is a mixture of psychedelic, shoegaze, and blues. A collection effects of ambience, echo, drones, and feedback. Judging from this cliched description, you may think that they’re boring as hell, that many bands have already taken their part in this kind of genre. But trust me, Spacemen 3 is different. Blatant lyrics mixed with the mentality of British junkies in early 90s, and minimal music with a somewhat cheap sound, equal with their own genuity, their own music. I find it difficult to compare them with any other band. In simple words, its music is often described as space-rock. Quite fair, as I consider it causes you to feel like ‘floating in space’, (if you know what I mean), or at least it makes you dying to feel like one. Take their motto: “Taking drugs to make music to take drugs to.” Yes, a trip accompanied with their songs would be a pleasant one.
This album is their very first recording session in 1984, before they published any other album, and was released ten years after—in 1995. The materials here are early versions of songs that later would be put on their main album: the slower, bluesy “Walkin with Jesus” (one of my Spacemen 3’s favorite song), and the raw “Things’ll Never Be the Same”, both would later come in better arrangements in Perfect Prescription. “T.V. Catastrophe”, a chaotic 7 minute instrumental piece of clashing guitar distortion, shows you their tendency from the start to make exactly this kind of track in their future works, and “2:35”, is personally the nicest song in this album, a climbing, diary-like, groovy song. Both of them would later be presented in Sound of Confusion, and last is their own arrangement—that would be the groundwork for their “Come Down Easy”—of a traditional song “Fixin’ to Die”, that is also sung by Bob Dylan in his debut album.
Sadly I should say that their sound on this album is too rough, as if they’re playing in some late ‘60s underground gigs with poor sounds, playing their unfurnished works. The two bonus tracks are somewhat unnecessary, the alternate mixes that have no such differences with the previous versions. Their main albums, Playing With Fire, and Perfect Prescription, represent Spacemen 3 better. As introductions, I recommend them to you. Listen to those first before stepping here. I’m not saying this is a poor album, instead, it’s a good one. It just shows you the earlier nature of Spacemen 3 that slowly faded as time passed: wild and raw. Still, it won’t kill you to try.