And so Earthling Society, a criminally ignored bunch of freaks stuck out on the edge of a murky foul-smelling estuary way up North send me their latest offering to the indifferent gods of not-so-popular taste. Lauded by Julian Cope many moons ago Earthling Society have come on in leaps and bounds since their scratchy beginnings where ‘shroom-soaked trips way out into the cosmos were sometimes undermined, although some would say enhanced by poor production. That was certainly not a problem with last year’s ZodiaK album, on 4Zero, and now Riot Season Records have ensured that high production values have been maintained.
England Have My Bones is the second of a loosely linked trilogy of albums from the long-running band. The first album of this mighty triptych was last year’s ZodiaK, a thoroughly stupendous Detroit-fuelled racket that got my rock’n’roll bones a-stirring, I can tell ye! England… takes its inspiration from leader Fred Laird’s other obsession Deutschrock and takes us down the Autobahn in the company of Guru Guru, Ash Ra Tempel, et al, watched over by a freerock spirit that Mr Cope recognised all those years ago.
We set out to sail on the seas of Amboss, Aiwass summoning the tribes to a gathering on the shoreline so that they may venture forth to new lands. Aiwass is a shining righteous mass of Ür Rock drawing the faithful to its core, ending in a swirling cacophony of synapse altering acid fried guitar. And then, Tortuga, with its near-indecipherable echoed vox and swirling psychedelia will hit a spot with fans of The Verve before they dropped the indefinite article, with an added hint of Terry Bickers’ marvellous pop-freakshow Levitation.
Connected by molecule-thin but unimaginably strong tentacles of dark matter reaching back through time to Alice Coltrane’s sublime original is the band’s cover of Journey In Satchidananda. To the Indian drone backing of a tambura the cosmic to and fro between Alice’s harp and Pharoah Sanders’ saxophone in this dedication to Miss Coltrane’s yoga teacher is reflected on the other side of the temporal shift by Neil Whitehead’s electronica box of magick, leading to Fred’s guitar imaginings sparring with looped effects and ethereal aural ephemera that glid forever, all the while anchored by that familiar 16-ton bass line. Stretched like a rubber band between parallel universes, this track lasts far too long, but not nearly long enough. Not only that, but it was laid down live, too! Fabulous stuff indeed!
The concluding title track had the working title Nagasaki Shadow, and you can see why from the scorched earth drone-noise introduction which is akin to something Kawabata Makoto might have had a nightmare about. The piece eventually calms to a wistful industrial melancholy as it floats off down the Manchester ship canal amidst the detritus.
England Have My Bones is out on 25th August, and as well as the more usual formats, you can pre-order this beautiful monster on translucent green vinyl, and why wouldn’t you?
We await the final instalment of this unholy Trinity of expanded consciousness with anticipation and a fluttering heart.
01. Aiwass (11:12)
02. Tortuga (8:41)
03. Journey In Satchidananda (15:19)
04. England Have My Bones (4:34)
Total Time – 39:45
Fred Laird – Guitars & Effects
Kim Allen – Bass Guitar
Jon Blacow – Drums
Neil Whitehead – Electronics
Record Label: Riot Season Records
Year Of Release: 2014