From the dirty guitar hook and aggressive, snare-heavy drum intro that open AMAZING GRACE, it's immediately apparent that after J. Spaceman's excursions into the outer reaches of the universe, he's finally returned home to Earth to offer the world his take on the rawest of rock genres: garage. The narcotic, pulsing minimalism of Spacemen 3 and even earlier Spiritualized releases, however, has not been completely left floating in space. This quality manifests itself here within the roaring, single-chord build-ups of "This Little Life of Mine" and "She Kissed Me (It Felt Like a Hit)," both of which simmer with blues riffs constantly on the verge of feedback.
However, the real highlights on AMAZING GRACE come in the shape of Spaceman's soulful, swathed-in-reverb spirituals, which uplift the listener both sonically and lyrically. "Hold On" oozes through the speakers gently, past the massive distorted guitars and walls of organ, opening into the blissful and fragile verse, "Hold on to those you hold dear," sounding a bit like Syd Barrett covering Johnny Cash. "Oh Baby" offers more of the same, but with the choral arrangements of Pink Floyd and the bombast of the Swans. Recorded mostly live with minimal overdubs, AMAZING GRACE offers a religious rock experience, existing somewhere between the ground and the sky.
Spin (10/03, p.112) - "...AMAZING GRACE finds redemption, uplift, hope, all in the moment, rather than in the grand gesture..." - Grade: A-
Entertainment Weekly (9/12/03, p.153) - "...Pierce erects stately constructs...using swelling string sections, bleating horns, and distorted guitars for deep-space crescendos..." - Rating: B+
Uncut (01/04, pp.84-7) - Ranked #52 in Uncut's "Albums Of The Year 2003" - "[T]his is another epic, maximalist outing..."
CMJ (9/15/03, p.4) - "...One of the most confident-sounding albums yet from the consistently changing band....the disc balances bluster with gospel-tinged balladry..."
Mojo (Publisher) (9/03, p.101) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...As a display of natural grace, and yes, natural rock'n'roll, it remains untouchable, another act of devotion from a true believer..."