Earthling Society - Tears of Andromeda Black Sails Against the Sky (Nasoni) Keith Boyd 05.02.07
Alchemy comes in a myriad of different forms. There's the old school predecessor to chemistry with it's beakers and alembics and retorts being lorded over by a wild eyed Isaac Newton seeking to unlock the mysteries of the universe. Then there's the more purely metaphysical alchemy. This involves processes meant to purify the base metals of the interior self and burnish them into enlightened gold. There's also the everyday, ordinary and miraculous alchemy of plants turning sunlight into sugar, or you and I turning the apple we eat into fingernails and thoughts. Alchemy is essentially, I suppose, a process of combining, purifying and transforming. Well if that's the deal in a nutshell then how can we experience music, great music that is, as anything other than the ultimate expression of this arcane art? Wood, metal, circuitry and electricity are touched by the fire of creativity then mulled over by the hands of the artist and we the listeners reap the gold. All of these musings and metaphors have come to me while listening to the excellent new Earthling Society CD, "Tears of Andromeda (Black Sails against the Sky)". This third emanation from the fiery furnace of their unique brand of alchemy is not only a welcome addition to the cannon it advances their sound into new and expansive territory.
It's always a thrill when something you already love just gets better. Better isn't perhaps the right word exactly. It's probably more along the lines of you enjoy a band's signature thing and suddenly you hear them finding new ways to inhabit that space and in doing so they shed light on aspects of sound you'd not noticed before. Earthling Society does just that here. On their last two discs (" Albion " and "Plastic Jesus and the Third Eye Blind") they were blasting away at various aspects of the "Proggier" side of sound. I dug and dig that totally (MESSAGE FROM CONTROL: GO BUY THOSE TWO CLASSIC DISCS NOW!!) but here on "Tears.." we get moving into the heart of the matter. It all starts off with a glorious lift-off into interstellar space with, "Wromg!". Aurora Borealis like threads of guitar and synth swirl overhead in expansive and foreboding arabesques. The momentum slowly builds with a riff and invites your soul to blast off in silver machine. One fueled with equal parts Floyd, Santana and Hawkwind. From this delightful lead in we move to the beautifully melancholy, "Black Country Sorceror". This drifting and psychedelic delight is awash with epic glow and slow motion grandeur. It's truly a sound portrait and feels like a piece of auditory cinema.
As mentioned above this new disc has the delightful aspect of shedding new light on the sound world of Earthling Society. Nowhere is this more in evidence than on the track, "Miss Liberty's Morning Dew". What a track! It's got some of the juicy and endless funk of a live Stone Roses track but then it's taken down through the engine room of the metaphysical "Tardis" Fred Laird must keep in his back pocket and painted with fractals. This sort of tightrope walking between a funk and head piece is a rare feat friends and I'm just betting that in a live set this track could lead to some amazing new lands. The whole disc bubbles with energy and potential. You get a sense that now with a few releases under their belt Earthling Society are spreading their new Technicolor butterfly wings and are delivering the Pet Sounds-Revolver-Trout Mask Replica version of their sound. This is no idle boast here. Just as those albums found artists in the midst of exploration and discovery so too do we find that here. The broader palette of sound in evidence and the cosmic grace used in employing it make for a unique and heartfelt experience. Every so often in life we encounter an artist's work that we can carry along with us on our journey. Something in that book or film or music gives us space to examine ourselves and in other ways serves to feeds our continuing quest. I've found it in the books of the Beat writers. I've found it in the films of Kurosawa. Now I've found it on Earthling Society's new disc. There's enough density, beauty and depth here to send you on your way for many a moon.
I suppose that in the interests of full journalistic disclosure I should mention that I'm honored to consider the fine, freaky folks in Earthling Society to be friends. Admittedly we've never met but I know brothers of the spirit when I encounter them and from the get go I knew that Fred and the lads were initiates in The Mystical Order of the High Mountain Tempel. So rather than say we're simply "friends" perhaps it's best to say we're birds of a feather, all flocking to beat of a grand cabal. Don't worry though. Go on and leave your budding psyches in the arms of our loving graces. We have your best interests at heart, really we do.