Earthless: Once You Turn On, You Won’t Tune Out
by Mat Weir
I know I won’t be breaking any new ground writing about an album five months old. However, sometimes an album lays eggs so deep in your psyche, you obsess over the music as it slowly eats you way from the inside. From The Ages, the long-awaited third album from San Diego power trio, Earthless, is just an album filled with maggoty-surprise.
Ripping through the space between your ear canals is 63 or so minutes of conscious expanding rock, nicely packaged in four easily digestible tracks. As soon as the opening track drops with Mario Rubalcaba’s reigning drum beat, From The Ages ignites the blue, psychedelic spark, carrying the fire through the fuses of Isaiah Mitchell’s and Mike Egninton’s respective guitar and bass riffs.
The trio playfully explores the area around the stoner/psyche/rock genre, filling in the nook & crannies with a heavy dose of ’70s hard rock & held together by a healthy dose of improvisational BeBop. When interviewed by Spin magazine, Rubalcaba once said Earthless isn’t a jam band, but rather an Improv group, citing,
“Improvising is composing on the spot so that it comes off like jazz musicians — it sounds like its orchestrated, but you’re doing it off the top of your head or out of your heart or out of your soul. You’re in control of it”
On the last song, the album’s 30 minute title track, it’s easy to see what he means. While the song itself has been around in the band’s live repertoire since the tour for their last album (2007’s Rhythms From A Cosmic Sky), they have played it and tweaked it repeatedly, only to throw it all out and admit on improvising most of it during the recording session. Like all great psyche bands, they do it without growing stale or masturbating all over the album.
The first rule in tripping is to never fight the drug, just let it guide you to wherever you need to be. You will find yourself looking in, only to discover the blueprint for the music, cosmos and life were all inside you to begin with. Rubalcaba, Mitchell & Egninton don’t know where they’re going, but that’s ok. They channel whatever primordial collective consciousness they have between each other, break out the hot coffee (the stoner-rocker’s only chemical muse is that sweet, sweet, columbian dark roast) and let the music speak for itself. And trust me bro, once you turn on, you won’t tune out.