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Radiohead's Ed O'Brien releases his debut solo album 'Earth': Review

Radiohead guitarist, Ed O’Brien, said he never planned to make a solo album - but suddenly ‘a switch was flicked and the songs came pouring out of him.’

The seeds of his record ‘Earth’ were first planted at the end of 2012. He was living in Brazil at the time, having moved out there to the countryside with his family.

After setting up a home studio and dabbling with the idea of making an electronic record, he was listening to Primal Scream’s classic Screamadelica when he had his ‘eureka’ moment.

"I thought, this is it, I want my music to have that joy, that light, the depth and breadth of that album... elements of dance, soul, ambient... uplifting in parts,” he remembers.

He immediately picked up an acoustic guitar and started writing, the new direction further influenced by a trip to Rio Carnival.

The resulting album is a progressive, dreamy record. It opens with the uplifting, jangly ‘Shangri-La’, written four years ago, four days after Glastonbury, whilst he was still buzzing from the festival. "I'm no happier than when I'm in Shangri-La at Glastonbury, three in the morning, hanging with the tribe,” he said.

Ed O'Brien. Image provided by Chuff Media.
Ed O'Brien. Image provided by Chuff Media.

The next track ‘Brasil’ is an incredibly chilled, deep and meaningful love song, sung over beautiful guitar arpeggios.

Meanwhile, the rolling grooves of ‘Deep Days’, is about family and community bonds. ‘Where you go, I will go,” he sings.

‘Olympik’ brings back deep electronic beats and a party atmosphere; while ‘Mass’ is an intimate, slowly blossoming epic, inspired by the NASA film Hubble. This features his friend, the astronaut Michael Massimo.

"When you hear Mike talking about space and looking down upon the earth, it's magical, beautiful.... Poetic," O’Brien said.

For me, the album had elements of Massive Attack and Leftfield and, yes, O’Brien can sing.

It’s out under the moniker EOB.

Reviewed by Zoe Myall

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