Hailing from Italy, alternative rockers Earthist have announced themselves on a wider landscape with a debut album which is full of surprises, invention, and most of all thoroughly enjoyable encounters. Lightward has moments where things are not as imposingly convincing as in other thrilling parts but from start to finish it is fair to say that the Parma quartet has presented one captivating, potential drenched introduction.
The band was formed in 2012 by young musicians whose ages (20 to23) are a deception to the maturity of their invention and sound. Drawing on a diverse array of influences and flavours to spice up their own imagination (folk, progressive, and Britpop amongst them), Earthist swiftly found eager support in their homeland for their Now. Here. Or Nowhere. EP of 2013, which in turn helped open up opportunities for the band to spread out live and subsequently play alongside numerous other emerging and better known bands from within and outside of Italy at important festivals. A critically acclaimed feature film by Emanuele Valla called Dreaming Alaska also featured some of the band’s songs, but now with the worldwide release of Lightward via Epictronic, the foursome of Federico Ronchini (lead vocals / guitar), Francesco Parrino (lead vocals, keys), Giacomo Giuffredi (guitar / backing vocals), and Alberto Tanara (drums) are knocking on broader attention, and with its unpredictable invention and smiling imagination it is easy to suspect potent success coming their way.
Opener Not Today is a swift melodic anthem in the ear, its rhythms and riffs a sturdy initial wall of tempting within which keys dangle bright temptation. A great bassline emerges from a following calm, its throaty lure in thick contrast to the just as engaging vocals which if you did not realise the band was Italian give no real hint to the band’s nationality. As the song’s shadowed but summery stroll continues, guitar and keys offers sparkles of light hooks and teasing enterprise over the stirring core drive of that bass and accompanying similarly intensive riffs. The band has been compared to the likes of Biffy Clyro and Mumford and Sons and it is easy to see why, especially in reference to the first of the two in this track alone.
The following Miracle moves into view with a coaxing of jagged chords before inviting crisp beats and another dark throated and catchy bassline. Emerging as a flavoursome slice of indie rock it also has a pop punk air to its chorus and aligning vocals, whilst across its whole length the song almost teases with its busily creative nature. The same can be said of Sirens Sing within its own unique presence. Creaking wood is a suggestive start to the song before an acoustic caress of guitars and growing melodies across keys and strings snuggle provocatively upon ears and imagination, each voicing the haunted romance of some kind inside the track’s elegant presence. The song, as the album, increases its potency and appeal with every listen, blossoming from an enjoyable first encounter to another peak within the album.
A spatial atmosphere instantly engulfs the senses and next song The Astronaut, keys a celestial breeze from which the song suddenly slips into an energetic and vivacious indie pop romp. Hooks gleam as they take and sonic endeavour shines as it entwines the infection posing as a song. Like a mix of Super Happy Fun Club and Good Charlotte, nineties and more current essences collude for a fiery anthem, inciting a new flush of hunger in the appetite before Brighter Later and after it Fox When The Night show another twist in the nature of the release. The first of the two is a rock pop serenade with a feisty heart and lively tenacity whilst the second with an equally lusty energy, explores a more new wave/indie inventiveness. Neither quite lives up to the previous songs yet each provides moments of richly pleasing ideation in a constant feel good proposition, the second of the two especially engaging a smile of satisfaction.
Classically seeded keys and a great earthy bass tone make Step Out Of The Shade an especially flavoursome proposition next, though the great vocals and a Beatle-esque whiff to the chorus certainly help its appeal too, whilst Helicon straight after, is another slow to light the emotions encounter. To be honest it never quite finds the spark needed to truly excite but enjoyment is never in doubt whilst in its increasingly tempestuous company. Neither song can match up to Jolly Roger (A Pirate’s Tale) though, the track from its opening boot on wood rhythmic march gripping body and thoughts. It reinforces the opening gambit with a radiant piano coaxing and a guitar crafted seducing. Vocals again impress and add new texture and quality, their joyful swing matching the shanty like swagger of the track. Bass snarls and folk revelry only colour the full blooded adventure further, all alluring hues going to make the pinnacle of the album. Revealing yet another new facet to album and songwriting the band’s imagination shows an experimental side easy to hope they explore much more ahead.
Sealance (In My Eyes) provides a raucous flight of radiant keys and thumping rhythms within an intensive sonic embrace next whilst Time For A Fight manages to weave strains of Muse, The Doors, and Weezer into a blustery and again increasingly magnetic collusion of sixties, seventies, and a more current festivity. Their satisfying sounds make way for The Lighthouse, a more than decent close to the album with a Coldplay like croon within a lively simmering melodic landscape. Like its predecessor, the track pleases without setting fires yet each have something within their presence which is nothing short of pleasing.
The album is a treat of a first glimpse into the creative world of Earthist, a realm sure to only grow and breed new thrilling experiments and creative emprises ahead. We for one cannot wait and suggest fans of melodic contagion do not either by taking a punt on Lightward right now.
Lightward is available now via Epictronic/Plastic Head Distribution LTD @ http://www.plastichead.com/item.asp?ex=fitem&target=EPIC005 and https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/lightward/id958116679
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