Earth Girls: Wanderlust 12"

Grave Mistake Records


"Earth Girls play power pop with an emphasis on 'power.' Spearheaded by guitarist/vocalist, Liz Panella, the Chicago-based band write songs that are bursting with breezy earworms but still pack an undeniably urgent punch. This precarious and exciting balance between infectiousness and grit propels the band’s debut full length, Wanderlust.

Throughout Wanderlust, Panella effortlessly combines elements of 60s and 70s pop with more modern influences, while adding her own distinguishing touches to make songs that are as catchy as they are concise. Earth Girls’ songs are driven by hook-filled immediacy, but they aren’t without sonic and lyrical depth. The best hooks always sound effortless and Wanderlust is loaded with these deceptively catchy yet winding melodies and chord changes. Every instrument plays it’s role perfectly and tastefully; warm vocal harmonies weave around gritty guitar and inventive bass lines, all held together by airtight drumming. The album's tight 21 minute runtime lends itself to repeat listens that reveal Panella’s attention to detail in arrangements, as well as pointed lyrics reflecting a struggle to make the most of life and its relationships."

Our take: After a couple of EPs, the debut LP from Chicago's Earth Girls is finally here! I think that this LP was recorded not long after the band's previously released 7"s, but encountered some pretty hefty production delays. As such, the sound of those earlier records is still very much intact. The sonic template is provided largely by the Marked Men, with the pop-inflected riffs and the drummer pounding out blisteringly fast rhythms on the hi-hats. However, this band is way more than just the sound. That fast garage rock template is really just a frame to hang Liz Panella's songwriting on... and oh man can she write a song! Much more akin to her songs in Siamese Twins than Libyans, the songs on Wanderlust are densely packed with ideas, remarkably subtle, and miles more sophisticated than even the most accomplished punk bands. On the first couple of listens, this high level of sophistication in the songwriting can seem like a potential fault; while the music is patently melodic, there aren't too many broad, immediate riffs or choruses that you'll be singing along with on the second time through the record. However, what it lacks in immediacy, Wanderlust makes up for in staying power. I've probably listened to this record ten times in the past week, and I feel like I'm just beginning to crack open these songs as a listener. There's just so much going on, with bass lines, backing vocals, lead vocals, and guitars almost always playing criss-crossing melodies.... the second you try to focus on one of those melodies, one of the others immediately grabs your attention and pulls it away. I worry that a record so substantial will get lost on 90% of the people who listen to it, but once this gets its hooks into you there's no getting loose.
Tags: 10s female-fronted garage melodic power-pop punk recommended