Earth – Pentastar: In the Style of Demons (1996)

For me, Pentastar is the essential first listen album for Earth. It combines the dizzying drones from the first few records with the unusual penchant for traditional song structures that would pave the way for the band’s later, more clean and folky shoegazer efforts. This is the last Earth record to fully embrace the wonders of the fuzz, and for this reason alone it must be worshipped! What I have here is the excellent value 2006 repress on Sub Pop Records.

It is hard to review this album without defaulting focus on the now classic intro and outro riff (“Coda Maestoso in F (Flat) Minor” to be more specific), which in all honesty and hindsight, can pretty much sum up the sound of Pentastar. The fact that Earth still play this monolith live – a somewhat more chilled and clean version, though – at shows doesn’t help my case. It can easily put you back into this era and you end up associating the whole bloody thing with those two tracks and that one poxy riff! Doh!

But, armed with the power to see past that hypnotising riff and one can appreciate that there are lots of excellent songs here to rival any band with a leaning towards the fuzz, from the depths of the doom genre right through to something altogether more Kyuss. Acid King in particular come to mind whilst listening to “Tallahassee”, a crunching, laid back number of epic proportions. Opener (not counting the intro riff) “High Command” has all of the head-nodding goodness, whilst “Peace in Mississippi” brings the funk and “Sonar and Depth Charge” mixes everything up a bit by stripping right down for over seven minutes of haunting piano.