Album review

The Earlies - Slow Man's Dream

It would be easy to file The Earlies away as yet another set of disciples of the Flaming Mercury Polyphonic Grandaddies school of warped, fragile psych-pop. However, they score over these other groups insofar as they can write compassionate songs about death and regeneration ("One Of Us Is Dead," the heartbreaking "Wayward Song") without lapsing into sentiment—indeed, the songs' patient progress bring Spiritualized's "Pure Phase" to mind. They also avoid camp—"The Devil's Country" is alt.country as played by Neu! and Albert Ayler, but the song's intent is deadly serious. And unlike any of the above-mentioned groups, they have a singer who can actually sing (listen to the exquisitely weary refrain of "We're all fools" which concludes "25 Easy Pieces"). An outstanding record which you'd be unwise to miss.

Rating: 4 / 10


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Very taken with Africa Express' version of "In C", by Terry Riley, this week. I have a few takes on the piece (50 years old this month, incidentally), the latest being one by Portishead's Adrian Utley from a couple of years back, though I still probably default to what I think is the original...