Submitting art to the ravages of critics is a treacherous business. Especially when the critic is burning the candle at both ends. The reviewer has to be objective even when suffering from a hangover, flu or any other malaise that may affect the mood. The trick is to realise that the way one feels is not a true reflection of reality. ‘Proximity Effect’ managed to highlight this phenomenon. The first listen left a feeling of meh. Subsequent listens changed that considerably.
Earthship have been touring the west of Ireland since 2011 with their funk/jazz fusion. Eighteen months ago they added a lead singer, the sweetly voiced Paula Higgins, a move designed to take the band in a more pop friendly direction. A self-confessed sci-fi fan, her lyrics take us on a mind bending trip through hyperspace. These guys certainly put the acid into acid jazz. Their blog list Miles Davis as an inspiration although there are no horns on this offering. A more accurate description would be a female led Jamiroquai.
Anyone who has spent time exploring the esoteric side of existence will be pleased by the intellectual introduction into meta-physics. If Paula’s quantum lyrical content steals the show the band ably support on an EP which is heading into concept territory.Lead track The Great Wheel opens the EP with tinny percussion, snare drums, funky basslines and complimentary electric guitars.“There is a whole world inside me on this turning wheel” hints at the unseen complexity within the human condition.
The second track Double Helix may be a tribute to Sir Francis Crick, who legend has it, was high on LSD when he had his DNA eureka moment. The track is sampled with quotes from academics although it’s hard to say whether they are genuine or not. Either way they add credence to the pseudo-scientific lyrics. Musically it follows the same path as its predecessor.
All Good is an uplifting song reminding us as that: “it’s all good take a little piece of it with you.” Although it retains the Jazz/Funk of previous offerings it also has a more of a rock edge to it.
Seventh Heaven opens with an awful screech that is anything but heavenly. Maybe it was supposed to highlight the beauty of the music in the same way sin is supposed to highlight grace. The track is the most up-tempo of the collection and a blissful guitar solo makes amends for the annoying opening.
If humans ever build a vessel to search for alien life then Earthship could provide the soundtrack for the spaceship’s cocktail bar. The EP is short, if an album follows with tracks of similar length then it would be over in under half an hour. That said this is a band who have proven a willingness to evolve, do not be surprised if a fully-fledged hour long concept album is on the horizon.