Review Summary: satan is an old friend
As I sat at my desk and finished my third listen through of earthly conduct
I began to ponder how much difference a personal connection can make to an album, by that I mean knowing the artist(s) involved in its creation. Of course it makes a huge difference and due to this I think speaking objectively about an album when you are so close with the creator can be hard, so I’m not even going to pretend here when I say I am extremely biased towards how good I think this album is. This album is so good because of how much my friend has progressed as a musician, lyricist and creative mind since his days making cathartic emo music for the end of the world. If that isn’t a reason to fall in love with this music then I don’t really know what is.
The structure of this album is breath-taking, darting between vibrant and creative post rock to simple catchy pop and anti-music. At first glance this seems kind of pointless for the purpose of one album, but the fact that one mind has vomited such gloriously diverse and colourful sound experimentation into one album is one of the main things this album has going for it. The penultimate track comes to mind, A 36 minute conceptual piece that guides the listener on an almost spiritual journey through life, death, birth and rebirth until finally climaxing with genuine emotion but cutting before one has time to think too pseudo intellectually. The creation sequence form the movie the tree of life
comes to mind as this song plays out due to its dynamic shifts and mountainous peaks.
The opener is also a huge highlight with its jazz leaning post rock and an incredible drum performance from the man behind Sensory Deprivation and Analgesin (check out his new album too squib). The track subtly glides through its initial phases with finesse and beauty before finding balance with a cacophonous ending climax featuring free saxophone played none other than Michael Snoxall. Before going any further it might be worth noting how much of a difference the real drums make to single souls music. When you consider that single souls previous albums all used drum machines to mimick a full band performance it is that much more impressive that these songs have been crafted to fit organic and punchy live drums. They are used sparingly, but when they are there they really bring ‘it’, for example on the fifth song with its polyrhythmic tendencies the real drums really help to breathe life into an already exuberant composition.
Perhaps the most impressive song on this album though is the 8 and a half minute long “claws”. The way this song bends and weaves through a beautifully constructed narrative without the aid of anything but acoustic guitar and vocals (and a little drum, but what-***ing-ever) is truly something to behold. It is only a testament to single soul’s talent as a songwriter that this song remains hook laden and catchy whilst being dense and winding. The song comes across a little too methodical at times, but overall this does not detract from its impact and substance.
So I probably didn’t do this any justice as I am far from a competent writer, but this album really means something to me. It has been a pleasure seeing something like this come together over the course of my time talking to my friend and I think an incredibly well executed album has come from it regardless of that personal connection I so appreciate from this fellow. If you do anything with your day right now, listen to this album. Just sit and absorb it, let its tones and dense sounds engulf you, sit and think if you have done anything in your life that has made you as proud and connected to everything as this musician must feel to this music. Yeah I’m super melodramatic get the *** over it, it’s just good ok.