Earlimart Mentor Tormentor

Earlimart Mentor Tormentor

You’d think a band named for a California cow town would lean a little more toward the folk/roots end of the musical spectrum but Earlimart’s fifth album, Mentor Tormentor, proves once again that your mother was right: you can’t judge a book by its cover. Or name, for that matter. Collaborators Aaron Espinoza and Ariana Murray delve into experimental pop once again, but with a few less experimental noises. Mentor Tormentor is mostly slow and simmering in tone, with Espinoza’s smooth vocals humming along to Murray’s keyboard and bass. And just when you think they might lull you to sleep, Earlimart take everything from the first half of their record and do the exact opposite, particularly with "Everybody Knows Everybody.” Where the other tracks are deliberately cohesive, "Everybody Knows Everybody” is jagged and garage rock-influenced. Another surprise is "Happy Alone,” the only song where Murray delivers lead vocals, turns the Mentor Tormentor themes of paranoia and angst completely upside down. Earlimart undeniably have much more to offer than their deceivingly boring Fresno-to-L.A. namesake. Mentors and tormentors alike should be thanked for this one. (Majordomo)