Earthling Society, hailing from a thoroughly down to earth corner of North-West England, have been forging their way into the frontiers of space rock for a few years now.
The term space rock is a divisive one, often bringing to mind images of lazy sub-Gilmour guitarists laying generic liquid solos over soft focus backgrounds. Not for Earthling Society however, whose brand is laced with a messy psychedelic paranoia with occasional flashes of utopian anthemic stridence. Their sound is densely layered and raw, yet never allows the various instruments to gel into a comfortable unity. It is more evocative of isolationist panic than leisurely introspection.
Despite the name, Sci-Fi Hi-Fi is an oddly lo-fi affair, with a muddy production that recalls Hawkwind in their opaque pomp. When the band are at their best - like in the strident midsection of "Tempel ov flaming Youth" or the gathering crescendo of "E.V.I.L.U.S.A." - this adds to the sense of bristling paranoia, and creates a musical hedgerow from which refrains can burst free in stark clarity. However, it does mean that the less powerful moments can be lost a little in the mire. The opening title track suffers most from this, meandering slightly aimlessly through its 8 minutes.
The slight anomaly that is "The Lantern" sits in the middle of the album; an earthy country song. It fits seamlessly into the album though, partly thanks to a hazily haunting tone that sucks the listener down its twisted rabbit hole into a nightmarish fuzzy outro. Any lingering doubts about the band's ability to create a powerful sound are thrust aside with the monolithic closer "E.V.I.L.U.S.A", dominating the end of the album with a powerful soundscape that builds into an enormous climax.
Sci-Fi Hi-Fi is an undoubtedly strong album. Earthling Society have a brilliant ability to create a jarring sense of eerie isolation, one which does enough to retain the interest during the moments when they lose their way.
- Sci-fi Hi-Fi
- Tempel ov flaming Youth
- The Lantern
- A Future Dream