ΦEARTH - 'Moments' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     September 28, 2012    
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This is another astonishing album and an intoxicating brew.

This is the sophomore release from the eclectic British progressive outfit whose eponymously-titled debut I had the pleasure of reviewing in Fireworks #42 (click here to read the review on Rocktopia). At the time of review, it was suggested that this new album would be titled ‘Red’, but that has not come to pass. This is one of the themes I will be exploring with one of the band’s two main muses, Dave Cureton, in the magazine next time…

Unlike the debut, ?Earth have not found it necessary to stretch their musical imagination across two CDs and have kept to an admirably concise (for a “proggy” album) 62 minutes. Yet within that time, the band has unveiled an album containing a remarkable soupçon of very many different influences: not only as regards musical styles and genres but also from many different cultures and parts of the world. Theirs really is a holistic, global perspective…

Although lyrically, there is a theme running through the album, the words are generally sparse and are often used to enhance the mood and the ambience of the music. The vocals of Clare Malin throughout the album are a revelation, and her contributions are a central focus throughout much of ‘Moments’ with the exception of ‘Brothers’ which is entirely instrumental and ‘Turn Away’ where Cureton leads the way vocally.

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The title track commences the album with atmospheric and howling sounds that give way to brief narrative. So much happens within the following eight minutes and these provide a good indication of what is in store throughout the rest of the album. The line “…no one’s out there…” is taken up at the commencement of ‘Live Your Life Part 1’ and which largely features Malin singing against gentle piano accompaniment. More instrumentation arrives before segueing into ‘…Part 2’ which is a forceful, energetic number during its first half but evolves into a lilting melody including an emotive guitar solo.

‘Drifting’ is another lengthy track, and has a languid personality redolent of its title and terrific vocal arrangements and I found myself thinking about some of the ambient, “chill out” music in my CD collection, and where this would not be out of place. ‘Cinta Indah’ showcases magnificent female vocals and there’s glorious Spanish guitar and Latino influences aplenty. The instrumental ‘Brothers’ takes up the previous theme and embellishes it; the saxophone and flute melodies are very special here.

‘Come Find Love’ finds Gregorian chanting juxtaposed with techno and percussive interpolations (yes, really!) while the dreamy/dramatic mixture in ‘Finest Hour’ also includes a sample from a Winston Churchill speech. The lengthy and for the most part understated closing track ‘Turn Away’ features an incredibly stunning ending however, that concludes ‘Moments’ in suitably fine style.

?Earth have boldly gone where others have – perhaps – feared to tread. This is another astonishing album and an intoxicating brew; do come taste the band….Thus far it is their finest hour (and a bit!)

Paul Jerome Smith

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