ARE YOU EARTHED?
ALBUM MUTE, PLAYGROUND RELEASE:
MARCH 10, 2003 REVIEW: MARCH 14, 2003
nice to hear a band mature towards an individual sound as steadily and
surely as Appliance. There is nothing anonymous about James Brooks' singing
anymore, and no problems involved in distinguishing songs from each other.
If Appliance was once contemplative and minimalist, it is now dreamy,
often melancholy and at times unmistakably romantic. Though the album
starts with two driving, funky pieces, I'm left at the end of the recording
with the tenderness and longing of electronic torch songs like "Fruits
of the Sea", "Mountains II" and "Boats". Themes
of fluidity and water seem to be favourites of the band, featuring prominently
here, as they did on my favourite track "H20" of their last
album, "Imperial Metric". Answering the album title, nothing
is earthed, but constantly flowing away, riding the waves, and passing
like all things must.
"Are You Earthed?" is also more liberal with its musical influences
than its predecessors, leaning somewhat towards British bands walking
the line between rock and electronica; perhaps the calmer moments of Primal
Scream a few years back and some Spiritualized can be glimpsed. But the
comparisons are imperfect and unfair. At this moment, both those bands
might have things to learn from Appliance.