Earthset – Popism

Earthset are an independent alternative/psychedelic bend from Bologna, Italy. Their EP Popism was released on 17 March and we thought we’d give it a listen.

By Graeme Smith

Alternative/psychedelic is something of an interesting genre-label. There are echoes of mainstream alternative in this EP, particularly when compared to alt-rock ‘90s heyday bands like Placebo and Manic Street Preachers, but about four minutes into opening track Around The Head you can see where Earthset are going with the psychedelic. The melodies break down, everything become a little off-key and the listener is left wondering if this is a deliberate choice or whether Earthset are a little unpractised.

What’s not lacking is energy, and enough charm to make it compelling. There are some true punk influences here, an effort to tear up the music rulebook and rewrite it in their own image. It’s both refreshing and unsettling in gorgeous symmetry. Track two In The Pendant collapses into something a chant before picking up into Nirvana-esque riff-laden chaos. You start to wonder where you’ll be going next.

Melodic pop, it seems, with track three Flush, with a roaming bassline and precision drumming. It holds together more than the other tracks so is perhaps the most approachable. Unsurprisingly, it’s also the first single. Having said that, the now characteristic break down three-quarters of the way through the track is still there, but this time is a drifting, echoing guitar riff that does nothing to alienate.

The melodic pop continues into Icarus’ Flight which makes this EP feel like a game of two halves. Final track Ghosts and Afterthoughts brings back the weird, though, which is good because I was beginning to miss it. A long, low minimalist intro builds into mechanic, electro randomness. It rattles along for almost three minutes before getting to its principle refrain. By then you’re hooked. Where’s this going? A heavy, noise-laden, crescendo, and then another break down of course. With another two minutes left of the track, you are left hanging, desperate to know their ace in the hole.

It doesn’t come, just a trail off into thirty seconds of silence. All that’s left is to go back to the beginning and start again.

Earthset have made no mention of any plans to come to the UK any time soon but, if they do, we’d love to have them.

Popism by Earthset was released on 17 March 2017.