Earlies The Enemy Chorus

Texas/Manchester combo the Earlies made a big impression with their 2004 debut These Were the Earlies. Though a compilation of EPs, it was a unified, spacious piece of psych pop that knew when to get heavy and when to keep it soft. However, as great as that record was, it hardly prepared us for The Enemy Chorus. The growth between these two albums is extraordinary, as the Earlies have fully expanded their sphere to a degree where it becomes a guessing game as to what they’ll pull from their sleeves next; their confidence is laudable. From the opening cosmic prog pulsations of "No Love In Your Heart,” they constantly up the ante with each tune. "Burn the Liars” sounds like Neu! injected with amphetamines, while both "The Ground We Walk On” and "Broken Chain” deflate with a country rock perspective that blasts into outer space for two divinely astral ballads. "Bad Is As Bad Does” picks up where the defunct Beta Band left off, shuffling in a groove flooded with a galaxy of various sounds. And then there’s "Foundation and Earth,” which comes crashing in like mid-’70s Bowie, with it’s overriding horn section and hot-stepping rhythms. It may sound schizophrenic and frantic but The Enemy Chorus is an invigorating record that renews faith for this kind of music. Just when I thought that I was off grandiose psych pop — thanks to the latest pitiful efforts by Grandaddy and Mercury Rev — the Earlies pull me back in. And it feels so good to be back on board. (Secretly Canadian)