Most bands in Spiritualized’s position do not, upon creating their sixth record, perform a system reboot. A collective exhale so dramatic it might as well be an airplane losing total cabin pressure. This is no tragedy, however, for Jason Pierce, who came down with double pneumonia during the recording of Songs in A&E and nearly lost his life. Several years later, with inspiration from film director Harmony Korine, A&E is Pierce’s most uncomfortably raw Spiritualized outing to date. Lead single “Soul on Fire” is a pop song, a warm, highway-friendly record. “Death Take Your Fiddle,” augmented by the “breathing” bellows of an accordion is a jarring descent into one man hell-bent on drinking himself “into a coma,” and surely one of the most unsettling songs in Spiritualized’s canon. (And that’s saying something!) To posit that this remarkable set is a stripped-down affair is missing the boat; it’s not stripped down, it’s under the skin, throbbing with the acoustic symphonies that flow through the capillaries of Spaceman Pierce. It’s double shots of happy, and five magnums of sad; a meditation of exquisite beauty and amazing grace with waltzing waves that crash in and wash the bottles, bullets and bandages away. He’s got a fire, baby, hold out your hands. (Fontana International/Spaceman) –Carrie Alison