Record Review: The Earth is a Man

The Earth is a Man
The Earth is a Man
Chicago, IL

“Refreshing math-rock updated for the lyric-driven scene”

Sometimes lyrics aren’t necessary to make a melodically inspiring record. Chicago-based The Earth is a Man’s self-titled debut is more than 40 minutes of instrumental prog-rock driven by melodic lines sung by guitars. In the current atmosphere, where instrumental music often takes a backseat, The Earth is a Man takes notes from artists like fellow hometown post-rock prodigies Tortoise and math-rock pioneers Don Caballero to sculpt their layered tracks.

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The math-rock influence is evident in the heavy emphasis on off beats and changing time signatures as well as the constant juxtaposition between countermelodies.

The album as a whole, however, is its own unique creature.

“Dymaxion” introduces the band’s distinctive layering by continuously building on a single melody to create an extremely hummable tune. “King’s Arms” utilizes math-inspired repetition to underline contrasting melodic lines before pouring into a much-welcomed guitar chorus, alluding to the band’s overall ability to incorporate interesting complexity while creating coherent tracks with omnipresent, albeit evolving, melodies.

While drawing on their influences, The Earth is a Man tempers them to produce tighter, more straightforward compositions that are more akin to the familiar melody-and-harmony song structure than calculating math tracks. With each counterpoint presented, tracks are held together with a healthy dose of cuts faintly inspired by the likes of Krautrock to create palpable jams that can easily be digested. (Self-released)

Recorded to tape at Wall2Wall Studios, Chicago, IL // Recorded, Engineered, and Mixed by Dan Dietrich and Chris Brickley // Assistant Engineering by Frank Caruso // Mastered by Jeff Lipton at Peerless Mastering, Boston, MA // Assistant Mastering Engineering by Maria Rice

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