On their sophomore release for Sub Pop Records, THEESatisfaction double down on their aesthetic and vision and do what record executives dread: make a focused album that eschews any trends, making Sub Pop the perfect home for their project. Expanding on the sound palette of their fantastic debut AwE NaturalE, the Seattle-Brooklyn duo goes into even more spaced-out territory, crafting 13 smooth and complex tracks that all blend together seamlessly. EarthEE includes a cast of recurring characters, such as Shabazz Palaces' Ishmael Butler and longtime collaborator Erik Blood, with the addition of some new voices, including Meshell Ndegeocello — whose contributions couldn't be more pitch-perfect — and Sub Pop newcomer Porter Ray on the standout title track.
EarthEE is also a much sexier iteration of THEESatisfaction, both in lyrical content and delivery, such as on "Nature's Candy," which blends tingling synths with lyrics about wanting to… well, you can guess judging by the title. The deceptively simple "Post Black, Anyway" is an instant highlight, with ominous saxophone, sparse production and alliterative poetry jam delivery. While first single "Recognition" subtly clashes with the rest of the album, it remains one of their most arresting and odd releases to date, its start-stop motion intercut with spoken word refrain and underlying woozy keys.
What THEESatisfaction offer on EarthEE is an unadulterated look into their mind, body — quite literally on the amazing Rajni Perera-designed album cover — and soul. There are few artists who are as artistically uncompromising, and while EarthEE may not garner the duo many new fans, its quality will ensure it outlives the kind of transient hype they might have shot for. (Sub Pop)
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