Earl Grey And Croquet - From The 21st Century
With influences as diverse as Neil Young, Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan and The Kings Of Leon, 'From The 21st Century' from South African outfit Earl Grey And Croquet looked like a very intriguing proposition.
The opening track, 'Pappa Was A Schoolboy' begins with some funky Stratocaster rhythm, before having some very 70s vocals over a classic rock base. The song moves along in a pleasant way with some intermittent guitar licks. The wah wah guitar break does become a little repetitive later on. Expectant of their quoted influences, I eagerly awaited the second track, 'Lady Luck'. The quiet guitar intro and vocals which reminded me of a coherent Lloyd Cole was unexpected, though quite pleasant. The song soon became disjointed with some over-complicated singing and the obsession with changing of tempo; confusing.
This confusion went on throughout the album and in particular on the two tracks below.
'Hard Pill' is obviously influenced by Pink Floyd's 'Meddle' era. The song soon degenerates into a repetitive 'indie' chant and then back to some prog rock synths sounds backing the guitar solo; again, a confusing mix.
The more psychedelic 'Learning Line' begins promisingly but the vocals seem strangely out of tune at first. As with 'Pappa Was A Schoolboy', the guitar riff is repetitive. The mood produced when the vocals are present is quite good and could be built upon.
I feel the band have got into the studio a bit too early as the songs tend to feel like 'works in progress. There are some good moments but so often the sound is weak and lacklustre. This album is a starting point for the band to build upon. They have potential, they just need to work out what direction they want to be heading and then work at it.