Album Reviews

Ian Astbury – Spirit, Light, Speed

(Beggars Banquet) UK release date: 3 July 2000


What would happen, have you ever wondered, if Tim Curry in Frank’n’Furter garb were to be genetically fused at the voice box with Cilla Black? What do you mean, you’ve never wondered that?!

Well, anyway, should anyone care, you’d have what’s called an Ian Astbury.

With a murky-looking album cover and a reminder that Astbury is in The Cult, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this is all a rather mediocre affair, for indeed it is.

Metaphysical Pistol sounds like (and probably is) a tape playing backwards, High Time Amplifier just is Cilla Black, It’s Over is a deceptive trick because there are three more tracks after it and none of the lyrics are even remotely inspiring, interesting or, the final saving grace for a songwriter, pop.

It’s not that it’s terrible – Astbury and collaborator Chris Goss achieve some startling effects with the production of the album and in places the atmospherics are arresting. But we are told that Spirit/Light/Speed was recorded in the depths of a Californian desert – but it’s quite unclear what effect this has had on Astbury’s writing.

There are worse albums in the world, very definitely. But there are many better ones too.


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