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Earlimart – Hymn and Her

If there’s one thing that’s clear, or at least confirmed with the release of Hymn or Her, is that Earlimart is a tight and cohesive unit, where you can’t where tell Aaron Espinoza’s guitar and vocal trails leave off and where Ariana Murray’s ethereal and lovely harmonies pick up. It truly feels like the core duo (along with its cycling drummers and musical contributors) are really in a groove, with only a one year time span between this album and 2007’s highly acclaimed Mentor Tormentor.


The lines within each song are blurred, releasing in contrast crisp melodies and bright infusions of dopamine. Starting with the jangle, pristine beat of “Song For” and signature shine of “Teeth,” Hymn and Her seems to pick up where Mentor left off, with the mirrored lake glide and vocals that sparkle and refresh like an ice cold beer on a Africa hot day.

But there is something about the intricacies and attention to detail on Hymn that subtly appears, bent with a stronger determination and level of insight, both lyrically and musically.

The appearance of stark song structures on “Great Heron Gates” expands and flowers, releasing bursts of pollinated notes, which drift right into the next track, “Cigarettes and Kerosene” that emerges straight from a Bayou porch, complete with birds chirping and a whiskey flavored guitar surge. Or the title track, which begins with a mellow, languid rhythm derived from a balmy church Sunday in a South Carolina beach town, then builds with escalating strings and a drum downpour.

When Murray takes vocal center stage on “Before It Gets Better” and “Time for Yourself,” we’re reminded of the strength behind the somewhat demure style of vocals she projects, where a line like “it’s a blood bath” sounds inviting. One thing’s for sure, the piano is her friend, and the lovely keyboard tinkles seem to dance like an animated bird on her shoulder. “Tell Me” on the other hand, echoes with a flowing veil that seems to caress one’s ear, tapping into the heartbeat of an aching cello, ripe for a David Lynch soundtrack.

Yes, Earlimart has done it once again. Having seen them only once when they played SXSW years ago during their Treble & Tremble tour, I’m pretty damn excited to hear these new tracks live when I’m visiting San Francisco in September. If you live in or are traveling to any of the cities below, I suggest you do the same. You can thank me later.

Upcoming dates with The Wedding Present:
+ Thursday Sept. 18 Casbah, San Diego
+ Friday September 19 Troubadour, Los Angeles
+ Sunday September 21 Great American Music Hall, San Francisco
+ Tuesday September 23 John Henry’s, Eugene
+ Wednesday September 24 Neumos, Seattle
+ Thursday September 25 Doug Fir Lounge, Portland
+ Friday September 26 Media Club, Vancouver


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