Listen, Earth – Embark

6 Production
7 Composition
7 Instrumentation
8 Mood

Based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, bearded band Listen, Earth took a trip to Boston, Massachusetts to record their first EP in The Office Studio. Whether or not they worked from 9 ’til 5, their days at the office left them with a resounding paycheck to take back home. During the few days of listening to that paycheck, titled “Embark”, the band took us from “Antioch” to “Toronto” via a slight detour through “Melbourne” before finishing off our travels in “Moscow”. The extended play has some common elements, such as the omnipresence of a feeling of grandeur, while each of the four tracks also has some distinct features of its own.

RELEASE DATE: 27 January 2015 LABEL: Self-released 

Opening track “Antioch” provides a rippling start with an acoustic guitar joined by a clean electric one. After a while, the drums cause a few splashes to appear before distortion breaks loose and transforms the track into a rushing river. Delayed high-pitched guitar shredding, clean electric guitar plonks fortified by heavy distorted riffage, bar-long rests, long and soft breakdowns leading to a slow build-up, “Embark” has got it all. For most of the time, there won’t be anything on this album that has never been heard before. However, in this case, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Listen, Earth combines several features into something that is clearly their own and they do so very skillfully.

Besides, they certainly managed to add some less common properties to their music. “Melbourne” seems the most varied track on the album and is without doubt a personal favorite. It starts off easy like the first track, but instead of the band’s own members its producer Mike Moschetto who joins them on tape with bowed guitar and a gorgeously deep string bass. Additionally, he performs on omnichord. It doesn’t take long before the ball starts rolling and the band kicks in with full force. Hardcore influences become clear with a progressive-sounding breakdown right before moving on to a last period of rest, after which the band breaks down the door and enters with a bonkers, delay-rich guitar solo. A long stretched ending bass note gives the listener some time to catch his or her breath before moving on to the next song slightly too fast.

To elaborate on that, the biggest throw-off in this album is the relatively short times between the different tracks. It’s probably just a personal pet peeve, but when listening to an album front to back, we like songs to properly end or fade out and leave a bit of silence before continuing with a following tune. On this EP in particular, every track seems to be cut off slightly too soon, which disrupts the flow of the music when listening to the whole record in one sitting. Of course this is nothing major and only of small concern, but it’s worth mentioning nonetheless. In any case, all left-over frustrations are let out by the bone-shattering scream in “Moscow”, which leaves a lasting impression that’s not easily forgotten.

Whether “Listen, Earth” means the band is recommending us to have attention for our beautiful globe or it signifies they’re about to give Mother Nature herself a piece of their mind, with this EP they should be able to do both. It contains some really impressive features which are by no means diminished by the negligible complaints that could be had by nitpicky internet writers.

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