(By Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker, Lead Journalist/Writer, RiffRelevant.com)
The Montijo, Portugal-based cosmic rock collective Earth Drive recently returned to terra firma with a new offering, “Stellar Drone“.
The seven-song album was released via Raging Planet on October 20th and finds the band further expanding upon their head-melting style of psychedelia.
After the critically acclaimed breakthrough of their 2015 album, ‘Planet Mantra’, it is safe to say that the quartet chose to not mess up a good thing. No, instead, Sara Antunes (vocalist), Hermano Marques (vocals and guitar), Luis Silva (bass) and Luis Eustáquio (drums), took what worked and really enhanced its finer qualities.
Spacey styling is spacier, psychedelic elements are trippier, atmospherics are more expansive, and so on and so forth. Just one thorough listen to this album will remove any suspicion or doubt, and that will begin with the dark intro “Lactomeda“. With a brief unfurling, things soon become an ethereal soup of displaced voices and dissonance
Before long you are propelled outward by the massive riffs of “Known By The Ancients“. Despite’s its chunky, sludge-ish music, the hazy, subtly beautiful vocals of Sara emanate from right beneath the surface, bubbling about you. From there, spiraling interludes of chaotic music and Hermano’s vocals are matched by lulls of lighter fare.
That formula is utilized in other songs, too, like the title track “Stellar Drone” and the magnificent “Magical Train“. They flow through sections of calmer, more ambient-tinted music, that’s enchanting and hypnotic. Then the band completely derails things into much heavier, aggressive sonics. In doing so, they command the fact that they, and only they, captain the path of this aural craft.
For me, there are two songs in particular that provide the most insightful glimpses into the overall Yin and Yang nature of Earth Drive‘s music. The lighter, magnetically alluring side is well embodied within “Two Temple Place“, a song that stays hauntingly rooted in head space for the most part. Keeping things slowly oozing with psychedelic honey, things only occasionally cut loose and delve into some harder realms.
That path is traversed to some degree again, in what has become my favorite song, “Are We Drowning In Digits“. This is the number where all the things touched upon elsewhere are craftily thrown into the blender and then cranked out with maximum output. Bits of blues, melody, fuzz, effects, aggression, differing vocal approaches, and much more are used to yield this incredible selection and all together, they are indeed powerful.
Look to your orb for the warning and don’t you dare miss the planetary passing of the new Earth Drive album “Stellar Drone“. This band’s ability to create some of the more impressive psychedelia happening in the scene now is both intriguing and enticing.