There's a sense that you know what’s coming when you sit down with a new Spiritualized record – A collection of beautifully and painstakingly arranged songs? Blues-influenced rock n’ roll? Gospel choirs singing over strings? Helplessness? Heartache? Anger? Sure, this could all be said of 2009s Songs in A+E and could just as easily be put to their seventh studio offering Sweet Heart Sweet Light. No Jason Pierces formula may not have differed too much and no it's not as good as Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space, but they are unlikely to ever better that record.

In some ways it is the brilliance of Ladies and Gentlemen... that has polarised opinions of Spiritualized since its 1997 release. From Pierce's earliest sonic forays with minimalist psyche drone outfit Spacemen 3 he has shown time and again the strength of his ear for musical arrangements. Sweet Heart Sweet Light sounds like an artist who is well aware of what he does best and is going to keep on doing just that. And as we’ve learnt by now his best is better than most people’s when it comes to building overstated rock n’ roll, chucking in gospel choirs, strings and endless reverb. Sometimes lyrically on the weak and clichéd side it’s the unashamedly dense music that gives us the Spiritualized view of a beautiful struggle in an often depressing world.

The opening 9-minute barrage 'Hey Jane' is about as optimistic (dare I say giddy?) as you're likely to find Spiritualized. Opening as a snarling bluesy rock n’ roll track complete with Hammond organ it builds on the pounding rhythm until finally imploding into a swirl of tortured guitars and crashing cymbals, only to start again and be rebuilt and build once more into the glorious "Sweet Heart Sweet Light" refrain that gives the album it's title. (It was initially simply titled 'Huh?' until Pierce convinced himself that the title would lead into Monty Python-esque scenes in record stores.)

The blossoming strings on 'Too Late' would make a Sgt. Peppers era McCartney proud in a song where Pierce's heart wrenching self-destructive side turns up: "My mama said when she got so concerned/ Don’t play with fire and you’ll never get burned/ Don’t touch the flame and you'll never find out/ My mama said that's what loves all about/ But it’s too late/ I've made up my mind/ Love always shows when there’s eyes it can blind."

'I Am What I Am' moves back towards Spacemen 3 territory but with added gospel backing singers and straining punctuations from trumpets. The song sounds like a defeated soul coming trying to self-counsel itself and get a grip. It’s a song where another singer could get carried away and begin a scream himself hoarse, but a restrained Pierce stays at a decibel level compliant with that of someone perched in a corner giving them self a pep talk. Given his own well documented brushes with death and drugs it's understandably understated but intentionally so.

Sweet Heart Sweet Light was still being tweaked until the last possible moment with Pierce sending out promo copies of an album he deemed unfinished for review so he could carry on producing the album in secret without hassle. His tendency for perfection shines through once again on an album put together by an obsessive personality – in more than one sense. It's a Spiritualized album to the core and by the time closer 'So Long You Pretty Things' fades to a cautiously uplifting sounding end you get that familiar feeling after listening to any Spiritualized record – that you've just heard a great album.