The Earthlings by Model Slaves, who are from Palma, Spain, is a way post tavern saloon on the planet Mars. It is the perfect place to wash the red dust from your throat as a slow and solemn band twangs away in the corner.
Despite the exotic imagery, The Earthlings is delivered dry, with no wacky sci-fi phasers or ring modulators in sight. Instead, shivering Dick Dale tremolo guitars and dry electric bass is delivered in a desiccated post-punk style, gilded with bits of churning organ and stories of The Red Planet.
Model Slaves is returning to a time when post-punk meant a lot of different things. It was a time when non-Western music was being incorporated into the revolutionary energy of punk rock. Post-punk favors ideas over post-production and pointless virtuosity. Everything in its own place and everything happens for a reason.
Model Slaves has been compared to everybody from The Replacements to Belle And Sebastian. If you were to add a bit of Calexico and a twist of Pere Ubu, this gets you close to imagining the sound of The Earthlings. But the journey is the destination and you need to experience Model Slaves’ speculative blues to get the full effect.
The album begins with "The Earthlings" which revolves loose guitar playing that picks strategic points of interest and a rhythm section that holds down the fort. "Fade Out to Black" soars with an excellent vocal performance while "Here Comes The Rains" has a relaxed, tranquil quality.
This is excellent songwriting, delivered in a stripped down and efficient way. The Earthlings is a model of restraint but don't let Model Slaves' humility fool you. These are top-notch musicians with ideas to burn, like rocket fuel to blast you into the stratosphere.
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