Earthing Society - Albion

Ah, the delights of reviewing… You know, now and again you get to hear a record by a previously unknown band that knocks you off balance; a recording that leaves you wondering how on earth no-one else has noticed this.

Such is true of Earthling Society's two LPs, Plastic Jesus… and Albion, which we received, completely unheralded, this last month. These two records are, in a word, utterly brilliant and I advise you to hunt them down without delay. And, if you consider yourself a fan of Krautrock.

As to Albion, well, I have to say this is a tremendous release, much more spacey and varied than Plastic Jesus…; in some places it is even more gripping. The opener, Black Witch is a menacing cracker; it's as if the Cosmic Jokers had jammed with 17 Seconds era Cure, just for the crack, like. Heart of Glass is brilliantly slothful and moody and there's a definite feel of King Tubby here amongst the Cosmic Jokerisms. For a full on prog-rock record there's a hint of eighties romanticism too, Bragg's romanticism, that of the Chameleons, or the Smiths. The title track seems to pull these yearnings into a coherent sonic whole. Albion is a brilliant lament, complete with wailing guitars and fizzy synths.

As soon as you hear the warbling guitar and flute you know that the following track, OutsideofIntime is obviously space-bound. Whispered vocals only confirm the theory. This song invades Ash Ra Tempel or Walter Wegmuller territory again, but please; take heart. Constant referencing of Ash Ra Tempel or Walter Wegmuller is a very good thing indeed. Beltane Queen continues the folky space groove feel; it's a classic meditational piece, enlivened by pattering congas and a reedy flute. In contrast When it all Comes Down is a sassy, streetwise affair, the vocals are very much in the school of Damo and the weak wa-guitar lends a seedy charm. A fabulous washed-out guitar strum ends the track.

As is de rigeur with Earthling Society LPs, we get a behemoth clocking in at around 15 minutes to end proceedings. Universal Mainline starts quietly enough; a voice runs through a sad sounding couple of bars, accompanied by a piano and radio interference. The track develops onto a beautiful high-altitude cruise which dips and sways in volume during its lifetime. A warped, slightly groggy guitar sound ends matters. A truly fabulous album.

- Richard Foster


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