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

2.59

Votes

9553
Genres
Psychedelic Rock
Shoegaze

Reviews

Like a review? Give it a thumb up to help us display relevant reviews!
Sort by: Top Date
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 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
Wed Mar 31 2021
1

What a big dumb nothing burger

👍
View Author
Thu May 13 2021
3

its good but largely irrelevant

👍
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 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
Fri Feb 03 2023
5

Meditative, exploratory, hypnotic. Warm and fuzzy, cold and brittle. A universe of music. Animal Collective took a lot from these guys, especially their patience. Never heard this band before, look forward to learning a lot more about them.

👍
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
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
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
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
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
Sun Jun 04 2023
1

Playing With Fire? I wanted to set it on fire.

👍
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 Apr 06 2023
5

New to me, no prior knowledge. Looked at the track list after listening on YT and realized my playlist didn't include 2 tracks, "Honey" and "Suicide", so I didn't initially hear it in album sequence. 1 Honey - calm beginning with added vibrating electric sound; interesting arrangement 7/10 2 Come Down Softly to My Soul - It's pretty mellow. I'm getting a weird Partridge Family/Simon & Garfunkel mashup vibe. I'm kinda diggin' it! 8/10 3 How Does It Feel? - very dreamy sounding, kinda space-like vibe, slow build-up without losing the dreamstate; hypnotic 9/10 4 I Believe It - another space-y feel with an organ; interesting 8/10 5 Revolution - much more electric, lyrics primarily spoken; the electric sound is fitting with the lyrics 8/10 6 Let Me Down Gently - Another hypnotic piece with a steady drum beat, organ enters; oh, I get it. The drum is a heartbeat and the organ represents the emotions, at least the lyrics make it seem that way. I like this one! 8/10 7 So Hot (Wash Away All My Tears) - simple music and lyrics, very peaceful 8/10 8 Suicide - more electric guitar than the others, feels like the state of mind one would be in based on the title, no lyrics 5 minutes in, added feedback 7 minutes in, 8:40 the added drums feels like we're almost at the climax, 9:50 feels like spinning out of control, 10:40 begins to fade out, 11min ends; certainly feels like being out of control 8/10 9 Lord Can You Hear Me? - musically feels like Simon & Garfunkel again with an added smattering of electric guitar in the chorus, ooh a little sax now; extremely interesting sound 8/10 I could see this feeling monotonous to some people but listening to it as a story, I find It very compelling! It sounds like a story of a person going through the stages of a breakup. I plan to look up the story behind this album. I liked it without knowing the intent. I think it may be more impressive knowing the storyline to drive it though. I would give this one another listen for its unique flavor! Although, I think this is likely a love it or hate it sound for most people. Creativity makes this a 5-star for me!

👍
View Author
Fri May 21 2021
4

Excellent stuff. Weirdly reminiscent to early 1970s pink Floyd

👍
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
Thu Apr 21 2022
5

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

👍
View Author
Thu Aug 18 2022
5

Dreamy, driving. Witnessing God through a frosted pane.

👍
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
Thu Mar 16 2023
5

this was pretty great! just weird enough to be interesting, just poppy enough to be listenable, just ambient enough to work to. really scratched an itch for me

👍
View Author
Thu Mar 30 2023
5

Perfect mix of VU, Suicide and Stooges, as noted in some other review. Only really started to listen to Spacemen 3 when Spritualized was releasing Ladies and Gentlemen and had ignored them before, but yeah, this is still great.

👍
View Author
Fri Sep 08 2023
5

I feel like calling this shoegaze is a misnomer. It's more like third eye complete dissociation staring into the void. They hit a nearly perfectly balanced hypnotic minimalism here that I love to crawl inside, lay down, and just let it wash over me. This is their best album, and I actually prefer it to what came later with Spiritualized - perhaps due to it being slightly more raw and stripped down. Sounds equally good on headphones as I imagine it would live. I would have loved to have seen them perform this in its day, but alas, I was only 9 years old, and was more into Batman than drugs.

👍
View Author
Thu Dec 28 2023
5

Spacemen 3 are arguably my favourite band. This, their 3rd album is seen as their peak creative output by critics, but I think their best is their second, 'The Perfect Prescription', which is my favourite album of all time. However, this still in my top 30 and is one of the best examples of neo-psychedelia in the last 35 years. Admittedly it took me a few listens back in 89 to get into it as it was fundamentally different to their debut album 'Sound of Confusion' which was a straight up Stooges/MC5/13th Floor Elevators noise fest, but the drugs kept flowing into a different vein by the time they made 'Playing with Fire'. The two main men, Kember and Pierce, have two very different styles of playing and vocal delivery, which complement each other so well. Kember's fixation with drones and predominantly using 2 chords, together with Pierce's ear for simple melody, which was unified with their shared love of experimentalism and noise. ‘Honey’ is probably Pete Kember's best song on this album, closely followed by the MC5 inspired 'Revolution'. Jason Pierce's tunes are as usual beautifully fragile. The fractures in their relationship is evident on this album with separate writing credits, except for the massive ode to Rev and Vega with 'Suicide' a 9 minute psyche-out blast of 2 note noise. I never got to see them live, but have seen their later bands many times where they have played all these over the years, which I'll take! Most people won't get it, but I love it and it is a straight high 5.

👍
View Author
Sun Jan 07 2024
5

Wow, this lead to a lot of cool stuff I have never heard

👍
View Author
Mon Jan 29 2024
5

A nice psychedelic record. Jay Spaceman is a genius.

👍
View Author
Mon Feb 12 2024
5

This is mesmerizing and magnificent and I absolutely love it! The extra demos and mixes detract from the original though

👍
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
Wed Aug 18 2021
4

Loved it. Great coding musix

👍
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
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
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
Mon Dec 26 2022
4

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

👍
View Author
Thu Jan 05 2023
4

Aj karamba, usunelo mi notke albumowa, bo jestem prawie pewny, ze cos notowalem o spacemenach 3, zwlaszcza o krazku laaczacym w sobie kosmiczne granie z psychodelia, bazujacym na motywach gospelowych, wiec doswiadczenie ktorego nie mocno rarkowe

👍
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
Mon Feb 27 2023
4

Finally, a soundtrack for taking drugs!!

👍
View Author
Thu Mar 09 2023
4

This band came up in my recommendations not long ago and they really worked for me. Glad to see them get an entry in the list. Best track: Lord Can You Hear Me

👍
View Author
Mon Mar 13 2023
4

Its a lovely combination of lush sounds and arthouse rock. Its really good. A -1 for some lyrical naffness

👍
View Author
Thu Mar 16 2023
4

This album punches above its weight for me. I’d definitely throw this album on in the background of the imaginary parties I throw. It’s missing just a little something that would push it to a 5, but a strong showing to be sure.

👍
View Author
Wed Mar 22 2023
4

4.1 - Another happy discovery in the Spacemen 3/Spiritualized back-catalog. No surprises here - spacey dirges that descend into scratchy chaos inflected with bluesy shoegaze and whiffs of gospel ("Lord Can You Hear Me"). Highlights: white noise at the end of "Revolution", "Come Down Softly on My Soul", the static-y percussion on "Let Me Down Gently" over a single-note bassline that pulses like a heartbeat.

👍
View Author
Thu Mar 30 2023
4

So diverse, ruthless riffs alongside gentle gems, yet it seems to fit.

👍
View Author
Wed Apr 05 2023
4

Lämpenin tälle :p spotify mhmmm albumi löytyy joo spotifystä joo mhmmm vieläs 2h:nakin sieltä voi kuunnella 2 tuntia siis :)

👍
View Author
Thu Apr 13 2023
4

This is an album I'd listen to while in a taxi on the way to the airport early in the morning, staring longingly out the window, after I'd just made a big life decision to finally move out of my hometown and get a fresh start somewhere else. It's an album that creates great atmosphere, but this music would work much better as a movie soundtrack. This isn't something I want to actively listen to.

👍
View Author
Mon May 01 2023
4

i'm partial to a bit of spacemen 3 and their offshoots of spiritualised and spectrum and you can see their influence in bands like the brian jonestown massacre and all of the subsequent modern psych music that's about. this album isn't quite as good as 'taking drugs to make music to take drugs to' which apart from being one of the best album titles ever invented is also spacemen 3s best album.

👍
View Author
Thu May 04 2023
4

more embers than pyrotechnics

👍
View Author
Thu May 25 2023
4

Me hizo pensar en Spiritualized

👍
View Author
Thu May 25 2023
4

I think if I'd listened to this album in shirt headspace, it might have been a 5 star

👍
View Author
Wed May 31 2023
4

Not for everyone, but for fans of neo-psychedelia this is essential listening. I like this best of their three releases. More subtle than the first two, Playing With Fire glides along in the best possible way. The hushed portions of the songs enhance the overall sound. All three releases are worthy, but I would start here.

👍
View Author
Wed May 31 2023
4

This was cool. Never heard of this group but a few of these songs sounded familiar. A more intense Spiritualized. Side note: I really wish artists/Spotify would publish original track listings for all albums. Lord Can You Hear Me was my fave.

👍
View Author
Thu Jun 01 2023
4

Two listens lead me to very much appreciating the distorted guitars with electronic elements.

👍
View Author
Fri Jun 16 2023
4

Reminded me of shoegaze. I liked it

👍
View Author
Wed Jul 05 2023
4

I was a bit worried when I saw that this was a British band that I've never heard of, since my history with similar bands on this list is not spectacular. However, I really enjoyed this album. I like ambient music, so space rock is pretty firmly up my alley, but this album is also very well executed. The songs flow nicely from one to the next, but each one is distinct. The vocals are a bit muffled on some of the songs, but that could also be intentional. Really cool album for relaxing whilst chemically altering your brain 4/5

👍
View Author
Thu Jul 13 2023
4

IMPORTANT: do not listen during daytime. This is evening/late night music ONLY. I could probably rate it higher, but I did make that mistake and put it on at work. However 'Honey' is wonderful at all times.

👍
View Author
Fri Jul 21 2023
4

Pretty sweet. Pretty spacey. Very nice plane music. 3.5/5

👍
View Author
Sun Jul 30 2023
4

I enjoyed this album overall, as it got better with every listen, and still may do so. I like the experimental and electric sounds throughout this record, it gives feel to something more than psychedelic. It makes it more unique. Suicide and Revolution were mediocre tracks IMO. They are not bad by any means and do fit the albums theme, but just have not resonated with me (yet). A sonic record I did really enjoy. Favourites: Honey / Come Down Softly To My Soul / I Believe It / Let Me Down Gently / So Hot / Lord Can You Hear Me

👍
View Author
Mon Jul 31 2023
4

An enjoyable album, Suicide was the one track set apart from the rest, not a challenging listen.

👍
View Author
Fri Aug 04 2023
4

I made more fun of these guys than they deserve. Pretty good.

👍
View Author
Mon Aug 07 2023
4

The shoegaze, proto-post-rock version of Hawkwind. I quite enjoyed this album, but have to admit I don't see any justification in considering this a 1001 must-hear-album.

👍
View Author
Fri Sep 01 2023
4

This is a 2 hour, 2 disc album. Very psychedelic in sound and feeling. For a time when bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam were starting out and creating a new wave. These guys stayed the course with the love and peace, hippy sounds of the slow psychedelic Era that was big in the 70s. Take an edible, put on some headphones and get lost in the Organ.

👍
Load more reviews