Like diving into a cool pool on an Africa hot day, Earlimart’s latest release Mentor Tormentor comes full force with icy cool and soothing vocals, followed with mighty and puissant drums on the first track “Fakey Fake.” But it’s track two “Answers & Questions” that has become as addictive as Doritos and heroin, with such a compelling melody and chorus hook that it begs to be played repeatedly while riding a rollercoaster, a black stallion through the hills of Edinburgh, and 10 foot wave off the Kona Coast simultaneously and in slow motion.
The musical aspects of these tracks create colorful, playful visions in the mind. Delving deeper into the lyrics, one discovers an almost film noir screenplay, portraying dark characters who are tormented with unending questions about themselves and those close to them (“Would it be fair to say that you’re in love with love?”), seeking truth but almost afraid of finding the answers. The ying to the yang laced throughout is the optimism and hopeful spirit about life and love (“…but even a stopped clock on your wall is right two times a day”), whether directed at another or with one’s self.
Aaron Espinoza and Ariana Murray make a perfect team, not only in how their music is birthed but in how their harmonies melt like whipped honey butter, sweet and succulent. The art is also in the details, whether it’s an odd sample backdropped in so it’s only heard subconsciously, electro seasonings used sparingly, or the glide of an eerie background vocal that acts as a lone string violin.
Witnessing their set at SXSW a few years ago, which featured many tracks from 2004’s Treble & Tremble, further solidified the “I heart Earlimart” moment for many in attendance . While that album definitely pushed along their fan base in growing numbers, Mentor Tormentor leaps and bounds ahead, showcasing Earlimart’s songwriting and crafting of songs, which stir up a gamut of emotions from one song to another, and within each two to five minute ride.