December 2014 National Music Reviews

Review: Brother Earth – Positive Haywires

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Brother Earth
Positive Haywires
Hidden Shoal
Street: 09.16
Brother Earth = Circus Devils + Syd Barrett – Robert Pollard

Todd Tobias and Steve Five, who collaborated on Robert Pollard’s Circus Devils side project (Tobias with music and Five creating videos of the surreal songscapes, including the indie full-length feature film I Razor) use many of the same kind of ideas here: detuned guitars, spooky/creepy/ethereal vocals, instrumental textures and unconventional song structures, often mere fragments, like dreams that disappear before you can fully grasp their significance. Brother Earth is a decidedly more singularly psychedelic outfit than Circus Devils, which seemed to shift shape from one album to the next. Hypnotic reverie “Out Like a Lion” might’ve come from some ’60s hippie cult, but “Sunny Side of the Street” recalls early Bowie. A daft sense of humor is evidenced in the song “Cortez the Cuddler,” like an outtake from Brian Eno’s Here Come the Warm Jets. But then “When I Have Fears That I May Cease To Be” reminds us that it’s not all fun and games at this three-ring mindbender— at times these songs welcome us to the circus of the inner psyche. –Stakerized!

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