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In September, VMP Essentials members will get the first-ever artist-approved vinyl reissue of Spiritualized’s 1997 album, Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space. Coming on exclusive 2-LP 180g Deep Space Blue vinyl, the lacquers were cut from original masters by Barry Grint at Alchemy Mastering. The third album from former Spacemen 3 member Jason Pierce, Ladies and Gentlemen, is one of the best rock albums of the ’90s, a widescreen masterpiece that beat out albums like Radiohead’s OK Computer and the Verve’s Urban Hymns in the NME Awards as Best British Album of the Year.
VMP Staff: This is one of the biggest British rock albums of the ’90s, but I’m not as familiar with it as others on staff; tell me more about it.
Andrew Winistorfer: Oh man, I’m so excited for you to get this and experience it. So, there’s this incredible band called Spiritualized, and their lead singer Jason Pierce was a founding member of this mammoth psych-rock band called the Spacemen 3. When they broke up, he started making music as Spiritualized. They made a couple really solid records, but when it came time to make their third record, all these awful things happened to him, and they all filtered into Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space, which is in part about his ongoing heroin addiction, and his breakup with Kate Radley — who he thought was the love of his life — who left him for Richard Ashcroft: the lead singer of The Verve, the much-bigger band at the time.
It’s this beautiful record that incorporates tons of American music. Pierce is from England and had never really been to the U.S. much, but he really loved blues and gospel and jazz, so he got all these famous players like Dr. John to make this record. The same year this comes out in 1997, Radiohead’s OK Computer comes out, and The Verve’s Urban Hymns, which has some songs on it that sound like they’re from the other perspective about how Richard Ashcroft has fallen in love with Kate Radley. Because all three of these records came out at the same time, it really ended up as Brit-Pop’s biggest moment, and despite being the smaller band, Spiritualized's album was named NME’s Album of the Year in ’97. It beat Radiohead and The Verve!
It’s this mammoth record that’s heartbreaking and beautiful that’s ultimately undeniable. You listen to it, and this guy is really going through it, it’s really heart-wrenching, and just all-around amazing. It’s an absolute classic, and the definition of Essential.
Pierce released vinyl when it came out in ’97, but every subsequent reissue was done without his permission. So, Fat Possum approached us to do the definitive version, with input from Pierce himself. And I think we did that.
The art print is by Mark Farrow, who did the original cover with Pierce. He also did sticker copy because the original album packaging was supposed to be like a pill bottle — all the warning labels are on the CD — so the record has a similar vibe, and the art print is a disclaimer on a pill bottle. It’s on heavyweight blue vinyl which matches the cover, and we just wanted to do the definitive blowout version of this incredible record. And I think we did.