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53. Spiritualized – Hold On

01/11/2009

53

“Hold on to those you hold dear”. To read something so trite, it sounds as if Clinton Cards is setting up a walk-in psychotherapy clinic. To hear it though, sung with such fragility and tenderness to such a plaintive melody, it becomes strangely profound. Such is Jason Pierce’s skill: maybe it’s the 25 years practice of being a drug-fucked philosopher that he’d already gained by this point, but on Hold On he collects truisms into a gorgeous secular hymn, making them seem like quasi-religious tenets by which to live your life. The grandly orchestrated opening both adds to the glory and emphasises Pierce’s brittle vocals, and as he signs off, to the accompaniment of a lone acoustic guitar and lap-steel, the overwhelming elegance and bruised dignity brings to mind late-period Johnny Cash, surely the master of everything epic and serious.  Hold On may not carry a particularly original sentiment – or even tune, given its wholesale lifting of Amazing Grace’s harmony line – but with this much conviction and solemnity behind it, the result remains terrifically moving.

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