Jason Pierce has a way with bad luck, but he’s also got a way with making fatalism triumphant. “Hey Jane“, which is the opening track on Spiritualized’s new album, Sweet Heart Sweet Light, is a case in point. “Hey Jane, when you gonna die?”, Pierce asks, resigned to the titular heroine’s destiny, but also rejoicing in her life.
Beneath Pierce’s burnt-out vocals is the kind of jangly, frazzled guitar popularised in The Rolling Stones’ “Street Fighting Man”, and a wordless children’s choir who sing out to the heavens. Halfway through, the song collapses into the sonic equivalent of a mental breakdown, like the apogee of a Sufjan Stevens concert. But then it rides back in on a soulful motorik groove for a coda that hints at ascension.
The video, which sort of fits with the tone of the song but also sort of doesn’t, is genuinely harrowing. It follows a black transvestite prostitute, and that’s all I’ll say. Watch it.