Thursday, June 01, 2023

Spacemen 3: The Perfect Prescription 1996 + Taking Drugs To Make Music To take Drugs To... 1990


Formed in 1982 in the town of Rugby by Pete Kember (Sonic Boom) and Jason Pierce (J. Spaceman). Spacemen 3 (along with Jesus And Mary Chain) were the pioneers of the shoegaze and drone-rock

scene which blossomed in the UK at the close of the 1980s. But while both bands showed an obvious affinity for the pioneering sounds of The Velvet Underground, they otherwise found different sources of inspiration, with Sonic Boom and J Spaceman eschewing the The Beach Boys influenced pop symphonics favored by the J&MC's Reid Brothers and instead channeling noisy minimalists ranging from John Lee Hooker to Red Krayola to Suicide. Both founding members have enjoyed considerable success with their respective subsequent projects: Spectrum and Spiritualized.



Drawing together some earlier material and a slew of new songs, Spacemen 3 tied everything together on the brilliant Perfect Prescription, the clear point of departure from tribute to psych inspirations and finding its own unique voice. Planned as a concept album, Perfect Prescription works where so many other similar efforts failed due to the strength of the individual songs, as well as the smart focus of the

concept in question -- a vision of a drug trip from inception to its blasted conclusion, highs and lows fully intact. The bookending of the album makes that much clear -- "Take Me to the Other Side" is a brash, exultant charge into the joys of the experience, a sharp, tight performance. "Call the Doctor," meanwhile, is a pretty-but-wounded conclusion, husky singing and a drowsy mood detailing the final collapse. The many highlights in between beginning and end are so striking that the album is practically a best-of in all but name.

Sonic's eventual work with Spectrum and E.A.R. gets clearly signaled via the majestic reprise of the Transparent Radiation single, here introduced by the swirling flange of an edited "Ecstasy Symphony," also originally from that release. Sonic's breathless delivery of the Red Krayola classic, combined with the elegant arrangement, is a marvel to hear. "Walkin' With Jesus," meanwhile, is practically the birth of

Spiritualized, the much different earlier takes now become a reflective combination of acoustic guitar, two-note keyboard lines, and Pierce's yearning, aching desire. The intentionally nasty flip to that is the storming charge of "Things'll Never Be the Same," a call to arms (or injecting something into them) that's as disturbing as it is energetic, the compressed, violent rage of feedback and rhythmic charge a gripping listen. Guest performers from the Jazz Butcher family tree, including Alex Green on sax, help expand the record's sonic range even further. Further reissues include a rotating series of bonus tracks from contemporary singles.
[by Ned Raggett]

Spacemen 3 – The Perfect Prescription
Label: Taang! Records – TAANG! 94
Format: CD, Album, Reissue
Country: US
Released: Feb 1996
Genre: Rock
Style: Psychedelic Rock, Indie Rock



01. Take Me To The Other Side    4:28
02. Walkin' With Jesus    3:43
03. Ode To Street Hassle    4:01
04. Ecstasy Symphony    1:54
05. Transparent Radiation (Flashback)  (Written-By – Barthelm, Thompson, Cunningham)  9:03
06. Feel So Good    5:16
07. Things'll Never Be The Same    6:05
08. Come Down Easy    6:46
09. Call The Doctor    3:52
10. Soul 1    5:41
11. That's Just Fine    6:49
12. Starship  (Written-By – Pierce, MC5, Kember, Sun Ra)  11:26
13. Live Intro Theme (Xtacy)    8:56


Bass [Bass Vibrations] – Bassman
Guitar, Effects [Tremolo], Organ, Vocals – Sonic Boom
Guitar, Organ, Organ [Farfisa], Vocals – Jason
Percussion – Rosco
Producer, Arranged By – Jason, Sonic
Recorded By – Graham Walker
Saxophone – Alex Green
Trumpet – Mick Manning
Violin – Owen John
Written-By – Pierce (tracks: 1 to 4, 6 to 11, 13), Kember (tracks: 1 to 4, 6 to 11, 13)

MP3 @ 320 Size: 165 MB
Flac  Size: 445 MB



Never has a record been so aptly titled, or so perfectly descriptive of a band's particular vision of the universe. For all that, the original appearance of Taking Drugs was in fact a bootleg on the semi-legendary/semi-notorious Father Yod imprint in 1990, later supplemented with contemporary outtakes and cuts for the Bomp reissue in 1994 and one further song for the Space Age version in 2000. The

original seven tracks, dated January 1986 and the first recordings to feature Pete Bain on bass, are collectively known as the Northampton Demos, understandably named for the recording location in a studio outside said English city. Both Sonic and Pierce have been on record as long preferring these takes to the eventual versions that surfaced for the most part on Sound of Confusion. Certainly it's a fine set of performances, showing a definite step toward the more familiar sound of the group and away from the rougher takes on For All the Fucked Up Children of the World.

"The Sound of Confusion," aka "Walkin' With Jesus," rips along with fierce energy, Pierce's singing and the rampaging, primitive wail and rumble of the band just wonderful. "Losing Touch With My Mind" takes things to an even higher level, a huge wallop of feedback and beat (Natty Brooker's drumming in particular delivers just what the doctor ordered), Pierce delivering the lines with a flat, cutting drawl.

On the slightly lighter tip, "Come Down Easy" is more or less fully in place (aside from singing about it being 1986!), possessing a more upfront but less vocally distinct feel than the Perfect Prescription take. The tracks that surfaced on the later reissues come from a variety of different sessions, including the original take on "Feel So Good" and a good live version of "Things'll Never Be the Same," one of several cuts featuring Brooker's drumming replacement Rosco.
[by Ned Raggett]

Spacemen 3 – Taking Drugs To Make Music To Take Drugs To
Label: Space Age Recordings – ORBIT056CD
Format: CD, Reissue
Country: UK
Released: 2018
Genre: Rock
Style: Space Rock, Psychedelic Rock


01. The Sound Of Confusion    5:54
02. 2.35 (Version 1)    3:50
03. Losing Touch With My Mind    5:16
04. Amen    4:53
05. That's Just Fine (Vocal Version)    7:35
06. Come Down Easy    6:58
07. Mary Anne  (Written-By – Campbell, Juicy Lucy)  4:19
08. Feel So Good    5:04
09. 2.35 (Feedback Version)    3:50
10. Hey Man    4:49
11. It's Allright  (Written-By – Elias McDaniel)  7:42
12. 2.35 (Version 2)    3:40
13. Things'll Never Be The Same    6:09
14. Transparent Radiation (Organ Version)    4:14

Bass [Bass Vibrations] – Pete Bassman
Electric Guitar [Fender Telecaster], Vocals – Jason
Engineer – Carlo Morocco
Guitar [Burns Jazz Guitar], Effects [Vox Conqueror], Vocals – Sonic Boom
Percussion – N Brooker
Producer – Jason, Sonic
Written-By – Pierce (tracks: 1 to 6, 8 to 10, 12 to 14), Kember (tracks: 1 to 6, 8 to 10, 12 to 14)

MP3 @ 320 Size: 171 MB
Flac  Size: 472 MB

Spacemen 3 on Urban Aspirines HERE


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