Following the announcement of Radiohead’s break in February this year, guitarist Ed O’Brien releases his debut as EOB. And it’s a masterpiece.
I was expecting the iconic sound of Radiohead: guitars which weep with melancholy chords and riffs which put them on the map. I was forecasting an extension of the band, an attempt to sail on a boat long parked at the harbour. But from the moment I clicked on first official single ‘Shangri-La’, rather than a boat navigating through waves, I found myself in for a refreshing swim in an exotic new sound.
It is familiar in an adventurous and renewing way, which fans of alternative rock will become enamoured by while simultaneously surprised. It manages to seamlessly intertwine Latino beats and movements into the comforting thrum of the guitar. Just when you expect the rhythm to become repetitive, O’Brien integrates hitchlessly a beat, just different enough to keep you hooked, wanting to follow the story of the song.
There is a certain chaotic cohesion to Earth. The tracks are all distinctive and tell their own tales, yet seem to slot together into an unexpected puzzle. Every song seems carefully perfected by O’Brien, and it sounds as though he has poured his heart into every second. The slower songs are beautiful, although they can disrupt the flow of the overall upbeat and optimistic narrative.
Highlights include ‘Olympik’ and ‘Banksters’; they blend different genres and you can almost visualise colours as you’re transported somewhere rich and vibrant.
The album (released 17 April on Capitol Records) has left me with the distinct impression that EOB will be a force to be reckoned with, and I look forward to more masterpieces.