The Earlies - These Were The Earlies - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

The Earlies - These Were The Earlies

by Bob Coyne Rating: Release Date:2004-07-19

These Were...The Earlies is that rare sort of album that defies easy categorisation, embraced by fans of both indie music and dance music. The Earlies' music is a hodge-podge of sounds and influences, combining subtle electronics and clever samples with lush instrumentation--from oboes and flutes to pianos and cellos--and layered vocals. But the album is no overblown experiment in studio magic. The four members of the Earlies, with a huge, revolving roster of musical co-conspirators, combine all of these things into beautiful and affecting pop, though of a slightly skewed variety. The influence of both Brian Wilson and early, pre-breakthrough Mercury Rev looms large over These Were..., mixed with a more contemporary awareness of the electronic music of Boards of Canada, Manitoba and Mum. The overall effect is an album that is wholly exhilarating, with songs that both soothe and soar, ranging from the blissfully chilled "One of Us Is Dead" to the country psychedelia of "Morning Wonder" to "The Devil's Country", which sounds like a spaghetti-western collaboration between Giant Sand and Ennio Morricone. This is organic chill-out music, to be sure, but the Earlies are never less than totally engaging. --Robert Burrow

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