I love it but I think it got me at a good time - think I was 16 when it came out and I was just
Has had a massive massive influence on pretty much everything I like, the free jazz stuff is ace, the vocal drawl, those little beeps on the title track, the looping layers, broken heart’s crushing sadness. It’s wonderful, I still listen to it a lot, probably my defining album to be honest.
I don’t really like come together or electricity to be honest but it’s still an absolute 10 from me
And the packaging is ace
It’s fine. 6/10.
Actually I do quite like those two tracks but just not nearly as much as the rest of it
It used to be a point of discussion amongst my friends about whether the weakest tracks on Ladies & Gentlemen and OK Computer being ELECTricity and ELECTioneering was a coincidence or not.
It’s a tricky one!
Also - I’ve found it’s a great album for putting on loud if you have an absolutely terrible hangover, like the ones where you have to lie on the sofa shaking a bit and you can’t move around for more than 30 seconds without having to lie down again. Borderline alcohol poisoning hangover
Like you have the nice dreamy bits making you feel a bit better and then the free jazz noise bits accurately reflecting how you actually feel, which I guess is kindof what he was going for with the whole heroin / withdrawal kindof thing but I’ve never taken heroin so I wouldn’t know
Easy 10. Mrs CCB was thinking of coming down the aisle to Ladies and Gentlemen… but went with Staralfur instead. I had the pill-packet version but no idea what I did with the box, and now I have it in a jewel case with a cover I drew when I was 18
The Albert Hall live album released shortly afterwards would be an even easier 10.
That live album is unreal. The version of broken heart on there is absolutely stunning.
Someone used the word Maximalist upthread, and I think that’s bang on: this is an album that really justifies the use of a brass band, a choir, a big studio and a lot of time and money by using it all so well. It’s an epic that’s genuinely epic rather than just ‘big’.
Like, this is an album that you really couldn’t do on the cheap or in your bedroom, whereas a lot of the time when this level of money and grand ideas comes together, you end up with a bloated mess that dilutes what was good about that band in the first place.
When this album came out in 1997, I remember Select having a cover CD with ‘Electricity’ on it, and I thought they were a new band and I thought it was a baller move to give away the lead single on a Cover CD literally days or weeks before releasing the actual single.
When the album charted at number 4, I was like ‘what?’. My friend bought the original one-Cd pill packet edition, but said the album wasn’t very good. I taped it off him anyway, and I guess kind-of liked it, but spent most of the time just listening to the title track.
A year later I was in a record store in my home town that ceased to exist probably about a month after I was there. They had a cope of ‘Pure Phase’ on cassette for 99p. I remember thinking ‘oh, so they’re not a new band’. I mean, we had the internet at that time (1998) I guess, but I never bothered checking about band discographies. I didn’t listen to that copy for a year and I guess I thought I was done with Spiritualized.
In 1999, I was trying to make a mixtape and didn’t have time to finish it before a long car journey, so I put on that copy of Pure Phase. Absolutely blew my mind. I went back to Ladies and Gentlemen… after that, and I ended up with my friend’s pillpacket edition of it. i think I swapped it for some shite album I had just bought. I can’t remember.
The summer of 1999 was big for me. It was the year I finished secondary school, and I spent almost the entire summer listening to four mixtapes that I made - my 'best of’s for Mansun, Spiritualized, The Beta Band and Idlewild. I think I tried making one for Mogwai but the running time of most of the songs were too long to make a full one.
I know that the opening song of the Spiritualized mix was the title track of Ladies and Gentlemen, and for years that was one of the staple songs I would begin mixtapes with. It’s just a perfect opener. It occasionally made the ‘first track on side B’ instead, but after 2001 This Mortal Coil’s version of Song to Siren occupied that place forever.
I think the other Ladies and Gentlemen tracks that made the cut on my ‘best of’ were Broken Heart, Cool Waves, I Think I’m in Love and a live version of Cop Shoot Cop that was a b side of one of the singles (I haven’t been able to find this version since) that was only about 9 minutes long, but still had the white noise freakout AND the gospel choir.
So in conclusion. It’s a 9. But Pure Phase is a 10.
Nowadays it’s easy to rag on the NME, but for me at that time (let’s say 1997-2001) it was essential reading, and I think this topping their ‘album of the year’ list led to a mini-trend of bands-who-are-already-good-absolutely-nailing-it like Mercury Rev and The Flaming Lips going on to head their list in the following years. This is subjective, but I’m not entirely sure if Deserter’s Songs or The Soft Bulletin would have been made, or at least wouldn’t have crossed over without Ladies and Gentlemen.
I thought ‘Let it Come Down’ was rubbish at the time and I should reassess it. I haven’t really kept in touch with Spiritualized since then. I think they, or at least my interest in them, peaked in 1999
One last aside. The jukebox in the university students’ bar when I was in my first year had a copy of Ladies and Gentlemen on it. I have fond memories of getting wasted and putting on Cop Shoot Cop to see how long it would be until one of the staff stepped in to manually override the white noise.
Electioneering is one of the best tracks on OKC. The second half would be really flat without it.
I think that was probably on the Electricity single, can’t find it online to stream though.
a 10 for me
one of those pivotal albums that opened me up to see things in new ways. think i was about 16 or 17 when i saw them for the first time and they opened with cop shoot cop and it was just instant conversion to the cause and then absolutely rinsed the album to death.
i quite like let it come down as well but aside from that, hardly any of their other records do anything for me at all. remember seeing them do that ‘acoustic mainline’ thing at ATP some year and it was absolutely, tragically shit.
I saw them open with Cop Shoot Cop on the let it come down tour and it was without a doubt the most intense opening to a gig I’ve ever seen.
I bought this album on cassette at an airport just before going on a 12 hour flight to Tokyo. I remember switching it on just when they put the cabin lights down for people to ‘sleep’ and everything felt a literal surreal. I knew nothing about it except that the reviews were great, and in that warm darkened compressed air canister up in the sky it absolutely blew my little mind.
That album and that flight are inseparable for me now. 10.
One of the greatest albums of the last 25 years no questions asked.
never heard of it, abstain
just kidding, it’s one of the most nailed-on 10s I’ve ever heard. Will try to post something more coherent later in the week