Earth: Full Upon Her Burning Lips (Sargent House) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Sunday, July 5th, 2020  


Full Upon Her Burning Lips

Sargent House

Aug 01, 2019 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Earth has been around for the better part of 30 years, but this is the first time that the faces of any of Earth's musicians have graced one of its album covers. Dylan Carlson, on the left, is Earth's original member, a textured player who knows the ins and outs of the sepia-toned Bakersfield Sound of guitars (Buck Owens and Merle Haggard). Adrienne Davies, on the right, has been the chief percussionist since Earth's second-coming started in 2003. Their photo on the front of Full Upon Her Burning Lips is abundantly clear, an initial clue to what might be Earth's purest form yet.

Switching from heavy metal heavyweight label Southern Lord to a lighter Sargent House for a new full-length that was five years in the making, Earth is monolithic minimalism. Earth's type of music could be defined as a massive piece of extreme simplicity. A metamorphosis of slow guitar progression and steady drum beats, as if a sleeping bear is trying to wake up. Earth listeners are patient people; any give-it-to-me-now listener won't get the band. Full Upon Her Burning Lips is the true meaning of a long ride. You may think that it sounds similar, song to song, but Carlson and Davies are riding waves of different tonal transition. By the third run through Earth's ninth studio album, further variation comes alive.

Current Earth is a prime example of guitar, drums and bass flowing to wherever it wants ("An Unnatural Carousel") to go until band and engineer (Mell Dettmer) decide to press stop. Little by little, Carlson has been deconstructing and purging the core of Earth, album by album, to where it was just Davies and him for Full Upon Her Burning Lips. Carlson says that he wanted to limit the number of effects this time, wanting a more upfront and drier sound. "In the past I've usually had a strong framework for an album," says Carlson, mentioning the lushness of previous Earth records. "This one developed one over the course of writing and recording. It just felt like 'Earth'just the two players doing their best work at playing, serving the music."

Davies has a stomp and clang that is deep and rich; Carlson continues to conjure voluminous and witchy aspects from his guitar. "Exaltation of Larks" is breezy, open-window air; "The Color of Poison" has a metal-chug riff that rings high, but embedded in country; and "The Mandrake's Hymn" is clean and wistful with cymbal splashes of light rain.

Naming a band Earth should make for organic music progress. Earth governs the purpose for every note and drum hit to carry weight. You might not understand Full Upon Her Burning Lips the first time, but you might like it by the fifth time. (

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10


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