Spiritualized Press Photo 1

It’s headed straight to the top of many a year-end best-of lists—no joke.

Spiritualized’s seventh full-length, Sweet Heart Sweet Light (out April 17), is the British band’s poppiest and, perhaps, outright best collection of songs yet. Frontman/mastermind Jason Pierce frames dreamy, narcotic spacerock with memorable hooks, orchestral strings, backing gospel vocals and his heart-stopping lyrics of pain, love and religion, or any combination of those three. It’s stirring, gorgeous and heavenly, like you're praying at the Church of Psychedelic Rock in the clouds. Clearly, I love this album.

And today Spiritualized dropped “Hey Jane,” the opening track from Sweet Heart Sweet Light. It’s an upbeat epic—eight minutes in all—that’s reminiscent of the sounds of the 1960s, but with slicker production and layers of atmospheric sound and melodies. Dig it.

Sweet Heart Sweet Light was a particularly challenging album for Pierce, but it seems that pain (and, perhaps, his notorious love of drugs) fuels his creativity. He wrote his last album, Songs in A&E, after he nearly died (his heart technically stopped twice) from double pneumonia in 2005, then as he was recording the new LP at studios in Los Angeles, Reykjavik and Wales, he was diagnosed with degenerative liver disease. He underwent six months of chemo treatment while completing Sweet Heart Sweet Light. Pierce’s 11-year-old daughter, who took the nom-de-rock Poppy Spaceman after her father’s J. Spaceman moniker, helped him write the closing track “So Long You Pretty Thing,” while Dr. John co-wrote “I Am What I Am” with Pierce.

Spiritualized also released the cover for Sweet Heart Sweet Light—it’s the curious photo of the “Huh?” below. The band are hitting the road this spring. Check out the complete dates, which kick off in May, at their label Fat Possum's website.

So, are you excited for Spiritualized’s new album yet? Listen to “Hey Jane” below, then tell me what you think in the comment section below. Also, just to further sway you, I added three of my all-time favorite Spiritualized songs below that—“Ladies and Gentleman We’re Floating in Space,” plus live performances of “Oh Baby” and "Sweet Talk.“ Enjoy.

Spiritualized "Sweet Heart Sweet Light" Album Cover
Fat Possum