Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Earthling Society - Beauty & The Beast

Earthling Society
Beauty & The Beast
4 Zero Records

I’ve seemingly overlooked Earthling Society before because this Lancastrian band have already released three albums, Albion, Plastic Jesus and the Third Eye Band, and Tears of Andromeda, none of which I’ve heard. So I can’t really comment, from a perspective of what’s gone before, on their assertion that they’ve left behind their more obvious spacerock leanings in order to “drink deep from the well of visionaries such as Syd Barrett, Todd Rundgren, Kevin Ayers and John Cale.” What I can say is that they’ve released a strong contender for modern-psychedelic album of the year … if only there were such an award!

Beauty & The Beast is understated, warm and hazy psychedelia that’s wrapped around some beautifully crafted songs, for the real strength of this album is, indeed, the song-writing on display here. The music, meanwhile, is twelve-string guitars, Theremin, Bazouki and Mandolins, Mellotron and Hammonds and has a late 60s upbeat vibe coupled with a fuzzy summertime flavour running through it. Tracks like ‘Sundropped’ and ‘Valerie A Tyden Divu’ really drift out on elongated instrumentals of kaleidoscopic shifting colours, trance-like and absorbing yet gentle and comforting whilst others like ‘A Modest Flower’ have a perfect pop-sensibility dripping through them. When the label suggests that this is a fusion of West Coast psychedelia, acid folk and Krautrock they couldn’t describe it better.

I think Rock N Reel magazine have the exquisite ‘The Boy With The X-Ray Eyes’ on their cover mount and have therefore laid-out the album’s best track for pre-inspection. But if you find that track pleasing, there are nine others waiting to be explored and it’s a definite must-buy for anyone with a penchant for well-played and delightfully conceived psychedelic-pop. Very highly recommended. And while we’re here, a big cheer for Dave at 4 Zero Records who is producing these beautifully put together packages (see also the Mushroom release reviewed here, and the recent Here & Now live CD Coaxed Out From Oxford). More power to him!

Earthling Society Myspace
Earthling Society Official Website

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