Earth 18


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Rising from the apocalyptic rubble of the post-grunge era, Britain's Earth 18 unleashed their Butterfly LP debut in 1995. Sounding for all the world like glammed-out rock & rollers enmeshed in a battle of wills with the flannelled, goateed alt-rock brigade, the songs on Butterfly roil and seethe, sublimated only by early era giveaway drumbeats and vocalist John Dupree's occasional penchant for channeling the spirit of T. Rex's Marc Bolan. From the wonderful opener "La La Song," which harkens back to a platform-booted era despite its Generation X lyrics, to the light jibes at heavy metal meatheads on the heavy, hair-shaking "Mechanimal," and on to the absolutely marvelous downer, "The Fall Divine," this band proves proficient across a sonic jigsaw puzzle. Throw in the dirty rock & roll of "Maximum Teenage Overdrive," which threads dated tinky-tinky synthesizers among Pink Floyd moments, and the theatrically over-the-top fuzz of "The Girl With the Downward Smile," and you've pretty much covered the decade to date, with a few others thrown in as well. Enjoyable and interesting across the board, it's a shame Earth 18 were relegated to little more than a flash in the pan. It's possible that they may have revealed themselves to be a one-album kind of a band, but it's also plausible that, with a little time and leeway, they might have developed into something very special indeed.

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