Guitarist Ed O’Brien (of Radiohead fame) has released his debut solo effort under the alias of EOB. Earth is supposedly a musical journey of self discovery which my local record store praised as their favourite album of the week when it had been released. Given the aforementioned factors, what I was expecting was something masterfully atmospheric. But given that my impression of Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke’s 2019 solo project Anima was far from my favourite of said year, I was uncertain as to whether this would follow suit as a overdrawn and repetitive ambient piece, or whether it would stick out a little more.
The fact that Resident favoured this album over Rina Sawayama’s SAWAYAMA, along with my aim to fill this month with a few more album reviews, was what ultimately drove me to review Earth. Before my initial listen, I hadn’t discovered any of the teaser tracks, so the experience for me felt completely fresh.
Right off the bat, Earth definitely had more of an engagement for me than the likes of Anima. Many of the tracks on here had more of a solid rhythm to them, as opposed to the typical rhythmless noise that I was expecting. However, there were still plenty of sighs of this album favouring a more stretched out experience with many of the tracks.
In other words, I found myself recognising in a few cases that there were many tracks that I would’ve enjoyed a tonne more, if only they were shorter. But this album is structured with a lesser number of tracks with longer run times.
Swinging pack to the positive things I have to say about this album, there seems to be a nice level of stylistic musical versatility, and there are a number of tracks that definitely succeed in standing out as unique, while all sticking to a similar mood. The concept of self-discovery that this album has is (sort of) clear to me, and while I was left wishing that all of the tracks were titled after locations, such as “Shangri-La” and “Brasil”, the overall atmosphere feel somewhat wholistic and uplifting, as if it is the soundtrack for a grand adventure across the globe.
Oddly enough, this album also manages to capture more of a Radiohead feel in places than Anima as well, granted that it indeed sounds closer to the 2000’s era style of Radiohead songs. Although this isn’t the case for every track on the album, I actually believe that this is more of a positive aspect of the album than negative.
But when it really comes down to what detracts from the experience of EOB’s Earth the most, it is the repetitiveness of so many of the tracks that show as a result of extending them a little too much. For me this made a lot of the album quite patience-testing, and even forgettable at points. But when all is said and done, Earth is a pretty solid experience that has definitely grown on me since my first listen.
Favourite Tracks: Shangri-La | Banksters | Olympik
Least Favourite Track: Deep Days
Over Normal Limited | UMG Recordings | Capitol Records