This is a Random Album Generator.
One album a day.
From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Playing With Fire

Spacemen 3

1989

Playing With Fire

Album Summary

Playing with Fire is the third studio album by Spacemen 3, released in February 1989. The original CD version included two live bonus tracks recorded in the Netherlands, and an ensuing release on Taang! Records included two more b-sides from the "Revolution" single. A reissued version from 2001 has an entire extra disc of demos and rarities. The album was featured in Robert Dimery's 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. In a similar musical borrowing to those on the band's prior albums, the song "Revolution" bears more than a passing resemblance to "Black to Comm" by the MC5.

Wikipedia

Rating

2.61

Votes

4870

Genres

  • Psychedelic Rock
  • Shoegaze
Reviews
Like a review? Give it a thumb up to help us display relevant reviews!
View Author
Thu Feb 03 2022
2

I don’t know what the right drug to pair with this is, but it doesn’t seem to be coffee.

👍
View Author
Thu Jan 13 2022
4

where is spacemen 1 and 2

👍
View Author
Wed Dec 15 2021
2

'Playing With Fire' is considered a psychedelic album but what is heard can be far more confusing. The use of minutes-long wave synths repetition combined with the sudden and unexpected instrument added here and there makes it a disconcerted presentation overall. Hollow, flat, and almost dull become fitting descriptions of the album arrangement - it feels as if the record is unsure of "how" it wants to be, not necessarily "what" it wants to be.

👍
View Author
Mon Nov 29 2021
1

Playing With Fire either shrinks into the background, contently becoming invisible turn-of-the-decade ambient music or it gets all spikey and post-punk and noisy when it randomly feels like it (but the Skeptics already got there and got there better). This album retcons itself, with the late 80s album art being the only memorable thing about it.

👍
View Author
Thu Jan 20 2022
1

Like a garage band of college dropouts tried to make an album inspired by the generic new-age music playlist they heard in the waiting room of the “discount massage parlor” they frequent.

👍
View Author
Sun Jun 20 2021
4

I really like psychodelic rock and this is not an exception. Didnt knew the exitstence of this guys before and that is why i love this generator.

👍
View Author
Thu May 13 2021
3

its good but largely irrelevant

👍
View Author
Wed Mar 31 2021
1

What a big dumb nothing burger

👍
View Author
Thu Mar 24 2022
1

J'écris ces quelques lignes dans une colère noire: cela fait maintenant plusieurs semaines, que dis-je semaines, cela fait maintenant plusieurs mois que Robert s'amuse à nous distiller des albums d'une banalité effarante, dénués de tout intérêt. Chaque matin quand je me reveille et me rend sur mon générateur, qui autrefois fut mon générateur favori, je ne vibre plus, je suis résigné d'avance à voir un nom complétement inconnu s'afficher sur mon écran. Une fois l'album lancé, 30 secondes me suffisent en général pour décréter que l'album sera inintéressant. Je n'ai rien contre les Spacemen 3 en particulier, ils ne sont pas plus nuls que les autres, ils arrivent tout simplement au mauvais moment. Pour l'ensemble de l'oeuvre de Robert, je vais donc accorder la note de 2/5 à cet album, faisant d'avantage office de bruit que de musique. [...] Mea culpa, j'ai écrit ce review avant d'avoir fini l'album, les Spacemen 3 méritent amplement ce 2/5, voir même plus puisque je vais leur accorder la note de 1/5 la faute à l'horrible Suicide présent sur l'album en tant que 8ème piste.

👍
View Author
Fri May 21 2021
4

Excellent stuff. Weirdly reminiscent to early 1970s pink Floyd

👍
View Author
Wed Jul 14 2021
3

I really liked some things about this, the way the tracks built up energy was interesting and Suicide was cool. However, it was kind of mind-numbing sitting and listening to an entire album that's this minimalistic/repetitive. 6/10

👍
View Author
Wed Dec 29 2021
3

Pretty good, but this feels like another example of the people writing the list skipping over the obvious classic for a second or third best choice. Why this album over Perfect Prescription? Why Warehouse by Husker Du over Zen Arcade? Why Blue Lines and Protection by Massive Attack over Mezzanine? Head scratchers, the lot of 'em.

👍
View Author
Mon Apr 18 2022
3

A puzzling album, ambitious in its sonic soundscapes but half formed in some of its ideas - many songs start and fade out without ever building. Somewhat ahead of its time, the psychedelic rock predicts later artists such as Mogwai, Primal Scream and My Bloody Valentine, an intriguing listen but not a satisfying album.

👍
View Author
Fri Jul 02 2021
2

I knew Revolution already so wasn't expecting such a spaced out quiet bore-fest! I did like So Hot, but it's a very short pretty song. Not a revolutionary listen, but not 1 star either.

👍
View Author
Fri May 14 2021
5

Psychedelic

👍
View Author
Thu Feb 10 2022
5

cool

👍
View Author
Thu Mar 03 2022
5

Ooh, I am diggin' the drones. Noisy, repetitive, driving. This is exactly my thing. Hints of 60s punk (MC5 and Stooges), 70s krautrock, and 80s no wave, this really hangs together. It's a collage of musical references built into a whole new thing. The NY Times obituary for Lou Reed referred to him as the godfather o f"high IQ, low technique" rock and roll. and that's exactly what this is. I could listen to this all day. I never knew where to start with Spacemen 3 (although I am long time Spiritualized fan), but I think I need to rush out and buy this record. I have been listening to this all day. It's magical noise.

👍
View Author
Wed Mar 23 2022
5

Cool as shit shoegaze

👍
View Author
Mon Mar 28 2022
5

Vaya, muy bien.

👍
View Author
Thu Apr 21 2022
5

Surprisingly good. Feels like a precursor to MGMT and maybe even some BMRC

👍
View Author
Thu Jun 23 2022
5

oh shit! I thought this came out in like the early 2000s like “huh, this is a pretty good alternative album” blows my fucking mind this is from 1989 anyway, beautiful album a bit long, it’s got some lengthy slow-jams but I’m all for that, 10/10

👍
View Author
Thu Aug 18 2022
5

Dreamy, driving. Witnessing God through a frosted pane.

👍
View Author
Fri Sep 02 2022
5

Jack_Nicholson_maniacally_nodding_yes.gif Awwww yeah, this is exactly my jam. Hypnotic, repetitive, drifting in and out of ambient. You can see the foundations of what would become Spiritualized but it's not as lush - raw, jagged edges. Fave track - "Revolution" and "Suicide" are both bangers....

👍
View Author
Thu Oct 13 2022
5

Yeah, kind a love this

👍
View Author
Fri Oct 14 2022
5

"Playing with Fire" is the third studio album from the English neo-pyschedelia space rock band Spacemen 3. The two main members of Spacemen 3 were Pete Kember "Sonic Boom" who went on to produce indie bands and Jason Pierce "J Spaceman" who went on to form Spiritualized. Well, forget what they went on to do for the time, this here is quite the album with some very high, high points. The music is pretty much an intersection of The Velvet Underground, The Stooges and Suicide. Yet, it is their own, almost a genre unto itself. Spacey keboards/organs, multi-layered guitars. Yes, I'm in. "Honey" gets things going with an organ giving a church feel (not the last time). A slow guitar repetitively playing one note a la The Velvet Underground. Spacey keyboards. Distorted lyrics. A love song. Alright, let's go and wake me up on song five, "Revolution." This is hard rock...distorted guitars, drums. The lyrics obviously mimicking The Stooges..."I'm sick. I'm tired." A song promoting drug use. Getting told what to do by people and the government and fed up. Ends in guitar chaos. A brilliant song. Let's continue the brilliance with "Suicide," an 11-minute ode to the band of the same name. Distorted, reverbed guitars. Repetitive noises and beats. A repetitive drone sound. This song reminded me of what Spiritualized would become. Great guitar end. The album ends with another great song "Lord Can You Hear Me." A very soulful and spiritual sounding song and a cry to God for help. At first I thought I was listening to R.E.M.'s "Everbody Hurts" with the slow guitar. A fitting ending. Being a a fan of The Velvet Underground, The Stooges, Suicide and Spiritualized, it was pretty obvious that I would be a big fan of this album. The songs that I mentioned are some of my favorite songs of the 1980's. A very high album recommendation from me.

👍
View Author
Thu Jan 26 2023
5

Best played loud. This is my type of music, so where some may fine it grating, I get a sense of euphoria as the noise hits me and takes me on a ride

👍
View Author
Sun Jun 20 2021
4

Wonderful album!!

👍
View Author
Sun Apr 11 2021
4

Surprisingly good

👍
View Author
Sun Apr 25 2021
4

Noise and madness with beauty mixed in.

👍
View Author
Wed Apr 14 2021
4

No idea who this was before i heard them but i quite enjoyed the vibe

👍
View Author
Thu Jun 03 2021
4

WHOA! I've never heard of this band and now I need to know more about them. LOVED THIS.

👍
View Author
Thu Jun 17 2021
4

I am familiar with Spacemen 3 through the album Recurring which has some brilliant moments. This album also has brilliant moments. Starts off with dense hypnotic music that draws me in. Then suddenly Revolution comes on and I think I've morphed into listening to a Stoofes song. Brilliant! More hypnotic sounds culminating in the 11 minute gem Suicide. The only version of the album I found was a 2 hour deluxe edition with some live tracks, alternate takes and other bonus material that proved too much for a single listening session but taken as a 50 minute or so album I think this is great....better than Recurring. 4 🌟

👍
View Author
Thu Jul 08 2021
4

Some of the best ambient/space rock I've heard. Spacemen 3 is fucking right

👍
View Author
Mon Jun 14 2021
4

Interesting

👍
View Author
Mon Nov 15 2021
4

That was great. I heard of these guys before, but never got to listen to them. Definitely something I want to delve into.

👍
View Author
Fri Nov 19 2021
4

Cool minimal psychadelia

👍
View Author
Thu Dec 23 2021
4

Ziemlich psychedelic, ambient, geil.

👍
View Author
Sun Jan 02 2022
4

Never heard of this group before and only saw that it was listed as neo-psychedelia which sounded interesting. After giving it a listen, I did enjoy it but it didn't sound really unique or ground breaking. Some songs are a little too long but overall the album doesn't out stay its welcome and I will be checking out some of the other albums from this band. Unfortunately can't give half stars so I round up to 4 stars.

👍
View Author
Thu Jan 20 2022
4

Really cool sparsely populated psychedlia. I'd be interested to see where this band went.

👍
View Author
Thu Jan 27 2022
4

Sounds like mighty boosh

👍
View Author
Fri Feb 18 2022
4

Very Spacey

👍
View Author
Sun Mar 06 2022
4

Very good album, with kind of progressive vibes, a lot of synthesizer with prog riffs, but sometime very repetitive.

👍
View Author
Wed Mar 09 2022
4

I think this is actively changing my life; I am also a musical artist, and I think they get what I’m trying to do? Sorry, this is just the first time I’ve heard that. Also, the organ on “Let Me Down Gently” is so beautiful. 3.75

👍
View Author
Wed Mar 16 2022
4

I used to live this album when I had more time/attention span/weed to smoke to long repetitive albums

👍
View Author
Wed Aug 10 2022
4

Ladies and gentlemen, we are floating in space.

👍
View Author
Wed Aug 17 2022
4

Not very easy to listen at first, but gets better and better each time you try again.

👍
View Author
Thu Sep 01 2022
4

If you have a day where a touch of experimental space rock is the tunes du jour, this album is near perfect. Melodic, sensical, and reliably less annoying than other experimental pursuits out there, "Playing With Fire" will break the monotony in a good way with its own kind of it. It may not change the world, or even rock it a little bit, but somehow this album was the respite that this reviewer did not know they needed.

👍
View Author
Fri Sep 02 2022
4

Oh, wow, never listened to these guys before but am a big fan or Spiritualized. What a fun trip.

👍
View Author
Fri Sep 02 2022
4

Not sure how I'd classify this, but surprisingly good. Kind of like an analog EDM. ADM?

👍
View Author
Thu Sep 08 2022
4

Take me to outer space, baby

👍
View Author
Wed Nov 02 2022
4

This was new to me and very cool. While I don't love the emphasis on/glorification of drugs and suicide in the lyrics, I loved the experimental psychedelic electronica vibes, and when I looked them up I realized Spacemen 3 were a precursor to Spiritualized (who I love) which makes sense and explains a lot. So this was awesome, would definitely listen again.

👍
View Author
Fri Dec 09 2022
4

4.25

👍
View Author
Wed Dec 21 2022
4

interesting

👍
View Author
Mon Dec 26 2022
4

Some fun space/psych rock, I enjoyed it. Kinda weird song titles though

👍
View Author
Wed Jan 04 2023
4

i dig it

👍
View Author
Wed Jan 11 2023
4

Arty, out there and intense. Definitely gets one's ears to ringing. One likes the all-in oddity and willingness to go both big and weird. Definitely set the stage for Spiritualized. Hard-edged music resonates more richly the more abstractly it's presented, one thinks.

👍
View Author
Fri Feb 19 2021
3

1989. Key Songs: Honey, Lord Can You Hear Me

👍
View Author
Fri Apr 30 2021
3

Sowing the seeds of greatness to come..

👍
View Author
Fri Feb 26 2021
3

3.8

👍
View Author
Wed Jul 14 2021
3

Pretty boring. I see where they're coming from with the old psychedelia feel but the production just ends up getting in the way. 5

👍
View Author
Sun Jun 06 2021
3

Quiero escucharlo again

👍
View Author
Wed Jul 14 2021
3

5/10. How Does It Feel? Bad, because I swear the sound of this song is designed to give me a headache. Aside from that song though, which gets better after the first 5 minutes or so, the rest of the album sounds good enough, but I found parts of it a little dull.

👍
View Author
Fri May 21 2021
3

Good

👍
View Author
Mon May 24 2021
3

It felt like a mix between a trippy jam and the Pixies. Not bad for background music.

👍
View Author
Sun May 23 2021
3

Very minimalist, very psychedelic. Not something I would regularly listen to, but cool listen.

👍
View Author
Sun Jul 25 2021
3

instrumental - good pace. enjoyable instruments.

👍
View Author
Wed Jul 28 2021
3

Very unique psych rock sound.

👍
View Author
Fri Aug 27 2021
3

very accoustic. never heard of em though. Good listens but onhe song `suicide` is really really painful vomit.

👍
View Author
Sun Sep 05 2021
3

Kind of expected to hate this (I'm not entirely sure why, something about the whole presentation put me off. I think I could have gotten way into this much earlier in the development of my tastes. Now it's striking me as frequently self-indulgent, and lacking in range. Even so I generally enjoyed listening to it OK.

👍
View Author
Mon Oct 18 2021
3

Hmmm, late 80's Pysch Rock/Shoegazer music, whilst seeing some merit in the originality and creativity must admit I prefer Jason Pierces later work with Spiritualized than this rather raw output. "Revolution" & "Suicide" are a little to heavy on the fuzz/psych for my taste and I find the whole album a little self indulgent at times. Top Tracks for me are "Let Me Down Gently" and "Any Way That You Want Me" (which I found Reminiscent of the Beach Boys) which are much more mellow and precursor to the Spiritualized modus operandi I think. Don't get me wrong I do see the credit and influence they have had on music, just a little to heavy for my taste.

👍
View Author
Wed Dec 08 2021
3

Its ok

👍
View Author
Thu Dec 16 2021
3

Very good album, though not as good as their first two. 7/10 1. Lord Can You Hear Me? 2. So Hot (Wash Away All of My Tears) 3. Come Down Softly to My Soul

👍
View Author
Fri Jan 14 2022
3

Starts with a mythical, synthy vibe. Transitions to heavy rock after several songs (hits good), then back.

👍
View Author
Thu Jan 20 2022
3

Nice

👍
View Author
Sun Feb 20 2022
3

gotta be one of my favorite genders, I love psychedelia, it wasn't a perfect album, but I still love this goddamn noise and vibe

👍
View Author
Thu Feb 24 2022
3

Some of the stranger tracks on this really brought it down. 3/5.

👍
View Author
Mon Feb 28 2022
3

This album was putting me to sleep until song 5. Revolution did wake me up and was a good dose of noise with excellent bass lines. Suicide is also quite good and would be excellent for an escape scene in an action movie. The original album has nine songs. Once these songs are out of the way, the music is better. There are some gems in the three bonus songs and the 2nd disc. For example, the cover of "May the Circle . . .”and both the alternate and live versions of Suicide are quite good as are some others on disc 2. Why didn’t these songs make it to the main card? I should be rating this 2. If I make my own 45 min. album with greatest hits from both discs I get to a 3. Holy too generous Batman.

👍
View Author
Wed Apr 06 2022
3

This was pretty interesting to me. Sort of a more modern sounding Pink Floyd. I need to listen to this again. 3 stars for now, maybe going up on further listens.

👍
View Author
Thu Apr 07 2022
3

I’m usually not a big fan of shoegaze/soft core stuff like this. But this one’s pretty alright. Also just thought about my last album and it def felt like a black womans version of a bob dylan album

👍
View Author
Wed Apr 20 2022
3

I like space rock, or at least I thought I did. Turns out I like a specific strain - namely that howling, swooping variety based on motorik rhythms as pioneered by the likes of Hawkwind. Perhaps I just like Hawkwind. With Hawkwind, you felt like you were on a truly cozmik psychonautic rough ride; Spacemen 3, at least on this album, prefer to float in the stratosphere. It's deep in atmosphere and no doubt scratches a certain itch. 'Lord Can You Hear Me' is a pretty, haunting tune. 'Revolution' is the closest they come to achieving blast off. Perhaps a little too spaced out for my liking overall.

👍
View Author
Wed Apr 20 2022
3

This was better than I expected. Not sure what I expected, though. From the cover art - looks like three different kinds of bands. But 'neo-psychedelia describes Spacemen 3 pretty well. Only a few tracks were really grating. The rest were pretty listenable. I might dive back into this band, if not this album, again sometime.

👍
View Author
Thu Apr 28 2022
3

I'll be honest, not really my type of music. I find it a bit boring and repetetive. It's not bad or anything, fine to have in the background, but nothing really going on here.

👍
View Author
Mon May 23 2022
3

Interesting listen.

👍
View Author
Sun Jul 03 2022
3

3.5. I like it.

👍
View Author
Mon Jul 04 2022
3

What an interesting album! "So Hot (Wash Away All of My Tears)" and "Come Down Softly to My Soul" are my faves.

👍
View Author
Fri Jul 08 2022
3

An interesting listen, especially since it's the first band of Sonic Boom and the founder of Spiritualized, whose appeal to many listeners I have never been able to understand. Consequently, I thought I would hate this album too... but against all odds, I did *not*. Most of the minimalistic, ambient tracks can hypnotize you quite well if you are in the right mood or mindset for this, and the rockier cuts such as "Revolution" or "Suicide" are doing a nice job quoting or mimicking stuff by The Stooges, The Jesus And Mary Chain, MC5 and... Suicide, obviously! Just like the latter, Spaceman 3 are here using only one single chord and haunted howlings for five minutes, but those 5 minutes still manage to fly by, miraculously. So sure, "Playing With Fire" might come off as an easy thing to do, but doing those sorts of record is actually riskier than it seems. At least if you don't want to get burned. :) Is this record an *essential* listen, though? As of now, the jury's still out on that. As much as one can appreciate the barebones atmosphere and witty references to past acts, there's still the sneaking suspicion that the project was a little too derivative to be positively compared to its models. Music fans might opt to go directly to the sources that so clearly inspired Spaceman 3 here. Especially today... Number of albums left to review or just listen to: 866 Number of albums from the list I find relevant enough to be mandatory listens: 74 Albums from the list I *might* include in mine later on: 33 (including this one) Albums from the list I will certainly *not* include in mine (many others are more important): 28

👍
View Author
Thu Sep 15 2022
3

Strange album, it was ok, but felt like it was building to something that never came

👍
View Author
Thu Sep 15 2022
3

Hard to understand.

👍
View Author
Wed Sep 21 2022
3

A bit too experimental sounding for my taste.

👍
View Author
Mon Oct 03 2022
3

Was a nice listen and I'd be happy to have this as background music but there was also nothing special about it.

👍
View Author
Mon Oct 03 2022
3

This album read the book and went by it for 40 minutes straight. It's kind of impressive in that respect. Also, the album cover has threes on it for god's sake.

👍
View Author
Mon Nov 07 2022
3

Pretty good

👍
View Author
Wed Nov 09 2022
3

Interesting, sounds like a mild shrooms trip - almost like the audio representation of that body and mental high. A gentle psychedelic haze and the droning, dream, hypnotic quality really helps elevate it. I swear I even heard some surf-rock type of riffs in there! I do think there were some duds, but as a whole it does work. I feel like it could be best experienced as an active listen rather than a passive one.

👍
View Author
Mon Nov 14 2022
3

The start of it made me think of what a whole album of the song just like honey by the Jesus and mary chain would sound like then at the middle it got interesting, suicide was way too long for what it was then the final track was quite nice. 3/5

👍
View Author
Wed Nov 16 2022
3

Some songs I dug. But the majority of the album just felt like "oh I guess it's better than not having music on?" so I don't know if I can say I necessarily enjoyed it. This is definitely a 2.5, but given the way I nearly hated all my 2 ratings, it's getting a 3.

👍
View Author
Mon Jan 02 2023
3

Very good musicians. I am sure I would’ve liked them had I heard them in my “stoner” days.

👍
View Author
Thu Jan 05 2023
3

dreamy, slow moving, hazy, spacey. As I was listening to this I though "Sounds like spiritualized" only to find out this is the previous band of the spiritualized frontman! Though I don't think this has the tonal and instrumental variety of that band. It's a vibes album

👍
View Author
Fri Jan 06 2023
3

Would be great if high.

👍
View Author
Mon Jan 09 2023
3

I feel like I'm being blasted with subliminal messages. I really don't know what happened during "Suicide", but it was pretty cool. Certainly better than the band it's named after. I'm out of ideas for funny quips, so I'm just going to steal a joke from somebody in the reviews for Kid A: "This album has more drones than the Obama administration". 3/5, one point for each spaceman.

👍
View Author
Thu Jun 17 2021
2

Mellow. Reminds me of Spirtualized, which I'm pretty sure is connected to this band. I enjoyed the Spiritualized album a bit more, this one was a little too much wallpaper. Favorite tracks: "Revolution", "Suicide"

👍
Load more reviews