One of the early 1990s more interesting groups was Bristol-based trio Earwig. Consisting of vocalist Kirsty Yates and guitarists Julian Tardo and Dmitri Voulis, their music was a nascent trip-hop/ambient mix, and predates Portishead and Massive Attack by a few years.
Their first releases were 12″ EPs. Debut EP Hardly was released in 1990 and is very much a debut record; the band’s sound was not as defined as it would be, and there’s a shoegaze-meets-punk edge to songs like “Her Stupid Face” and “It’s The Waiting I Can’t Stand” that’s enjoyable but doesn’t much resemble later Earwig releases. Second EP Might finds them with a more polished, concise sound–not unlike Lush or Throwing Muses–but it’s EP 3, Subtract, that one would start to hear the band develop into the trippier sounds of their sole album. Vocally, Yates has changed, too; she adopts a direct, hard singing style that’s somewhat reminiscent of Nico or Laetitia Sadier.
The band’s sole full length, under my skin I am breathing, would be released in 1992, and it catapults the band from its humble beginnings into a new sound. Opening with the ten minute epic, “Every Day Shines,” this was a new, exciting band, with a bright future, offering something new–a mixture of ambient, mellow electronica with a slight jazz edge that stood out as something new, unique, beautiful. Songs like “We Could Be Sisters” and “Never Be Lonely Again” are journeys into Yates’ psyche that are highlighted by some of the most beautiful sounds the band had yet to make.
Unfortunately, Earwig would not last; they would split with guitarist Tardo, and would reform and sign to 4AD-based label Guernica, as Insides, where they produced one sole album, Euphoria. But that, my friends, is another story….
Categories: Album Reviews