Earthling Society: Tears/Black Sails

By: Dennis Cook

Nothing like a mysterious, tongue stumbling title to set the tone long before the needle hits the groove. Psychedelic UK star voyagers Earthling Society gather the gold dust of their delay obsessed, lysergic ancestors and sprinkle it liberally on music that grows forward the high-minded tradition. For many, being trippy is a Nehru jacket, a Let It Be Beatles mustache and some feedback. Earthling Society know better and have delivered their finest hour yet with album number three, Tears of Andromeda - Black Sails Against The Sky (Nasoni Records).

"Black Country Sorceror" is the kind of organic moan that steals words from your lips, a descendant of Tangerine Dream's Phaedra and Steve Hillage's dreamy best. "Miss Liberty's Morning Dew" suggests a high-spirited boogie band performing on a remote, lawless space station. "Tears/Black Sails" is a heavy g-force ride full of buckling turns and curiously smooth straightaways. In record store-ese, you could say it's The Bevis Frond meets Ash Ra Tempel. Supremely tasty elusiveness!

They break the tracks into the constituent parts of a double vinyl record with the title tune, "Lucifer Starlight" and "A song for John Donne" being side-length epics. "Lucifer" really dives down the rabbit hole with probing guitars that border on metal but retains a prog-fusion snakiness that coils around you. On its heels, "John Donne" is like the black of night giving way to the blue dawn, incremental shifts in night and day moods that drip with the slowness of minutes. After drifting amongst the stardust for a spell, they emerge into the finest bit of early Hawkwind-y prettiness, where a reverb-marinated voice sings the Universe's sadness so earnestly you won't mind that you can't make out every word. The mood is complete and tells you everything you need to know. Pathos ain't easy, and harder still to pull off musically. Earthling Society has created a genuinely stirring work that should entrance anyone who's ever lost hours to Can's Tago Mago, Pink Floyd's Ummagumma or the first few Soft Machine albums.

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