Earthly Heart

Earthly Heart
6
North Carolina duo Brint Hansen and Edaan Brook, aka Earthly, are back with their first album since the well-received Days in 2015. This latest effort applies the duo's considerable sense of adventure to 13 new tracks.
 
The work is largely electronic, save for a minor guitar contributions from studio partner Brad Hurst on "Seth Speaks." And a good deal of it is exceedingly easy to listen to, even when the edits come at you rapid-fire. "Shrug" opens the LP gently, and then incorporates spoken word recordings along with a heavily treated vocal. It's a disorienting start, which is entirely appropriate given the many directions the remainder of the album takes.
 
"Mook Love" is an example of what Hansen and Brook can do when they set out to record a more conventional electronic track. A great addition to any chill-out set, the piece has a positive, uplifting feel. On the flip side, "Rainway NC" is a rich, warm and beatless track dripping with atmosphere. It will surprise some listeners to hear this side by side with the more upbeat material, but those disconnects are central to Earthly's MO. It's tough to get comfortable listening to Heart from start to finish, and that's at least partly the point.
 
Does it all hang together? To an extent. This is a challenging listen with multiple payoffs along the way. But in the end, it'll be remembered more for its juxtapositions of style than for its overall quality. (Bounce Pass)