With its debut disc, disposable sounds for the fickle mind, man on earth finds itself guilty of the same crime that so many other fledging bands have committed – failing to recognize and play to their strengths. The result of such an offense is an imbalanced work that shows decent promise, yet nonetheless falls short of making a real impact.
It can be a lazy and annoying (yet wholly tempting) habit for critics to want to freeze a moment in a song and exaggerate its significance. But focus in on the first minute of “Come in Closer” and you get a real sense for man on earth’s ability to craft deep valleys of emotion without trying particularly hard. Like a fine opiate, the track paints a beautiful dreamworld that locks the listener into a hazy groove, honing in on a single emotion. Yet, the bubble bursts when the band goes straight for the obvious transition from the somber and ethereal to the cheap and easy power-chord crescendo. The copious sprinkling of ‘lover’ and ‘baby’ doesn’t help matters.
When attempting to identify what’s missing here, food analogies come to mind. Taken as a total work, “disposable sounds …” would appear to be the entrée that’s missing a spice or two, or the dish and wine combination not properly paired. If man on earth is looking to be eclectic, perhaps a better bet would be to be more adventurous with its song structure or experiment with more dynamic melodies. Vocalist Steven Nathan shows signs of his ability to step outside his comfort zone, such as in his falsetto in “Come in Closer.” And the subtle harmonies in “Lazy” also shake up the mix and demonstrate yet another strength that man on earth would do well to leverage in a more obvious fashion.
Eclectic? Sure, but in this case I’m not so certain this is a good thing. In fact, the more accurate description would be to classify the album as perhaps too esoteric to be readily understood by the average audience. Granted, most of us are willing to give any new work a proper listen in an effort to discover its deeper layers. To be certain, there’s more to man on earth than is immediately apparent, and the disc is worth repeated listens in the quest to uncover these hidden gems.