Earthless – lengthy, fluid, psyched-out space jams right? Well, not necessarily. The Californian power trio have, on their fourth album, soaked their sound in a classic rock vintage… and in even more of a detour, have employed guitarist Isaiah Mitchell’s warm, soulful voice over much of Black Heaven.
Of course, the three-piece still lock into those technicolor grooves that they have long since made their own, and on the likes of the title track, we’re thrust through a time warp and into Sonic Prayer’s acid-tinted multiverse.
Elsewhere though, you’ll be shaking your locks and moving your ass to infectious retro stompers such as Gifted By The Wind and End To End while at the same time marvelling at Mitchell’s sublime performance – and for once we’re not just talking about his incendiary fretwork. His vocal capabilities have been revealed before (a cover of The Groundhogs’ Cherry Red) but now they’re fully uncovered and playing a huge part in Earthless version 2018. It almost seems like a shame that the sun-soaked, Allman Brothers vibe he brings to songs like Electric Flame has taken this long to emerge… but given the magical quality of the band’s previous output, we’re not going to complain too much.
Not visited planet Earthless before? Black Heaven is a good place to start (if just for the southern rock meets west coast riff-a-thon that is Volt Rush). Seasoned fan? This record has been more than worth wait since From The Ages hit in 2013. And although it may have been recorded in the heat of the Californian desert (Rancho de la Luna Studios at Joshua Tree, to be precise), Black Heaven couldn’t be cooler if it tried…