Mother Earth Time of the Future Review

Released 2001.  

BBC Review

Contained within this double CD are Mother Earths' finest moments from their three albums.

Greg Boraman 2002

Mother Earth are a bit of a conundrum in recent rock history. The group began life in 1991 as a studio project for the then uber-trendy Acid Jazz Records, (their debut live show was a double header with the then equally unknown Jamiroquai.) At the time they were not really a group, more a loose collection of musicians and special guests that found it's style in a hybrid of funky samples, retro-rock guitar and smoky psychadelia that was their debut long player - Stoned Woman.

Between Stoned Woman and the follow up People Tree, the bands style had changed drastically (shedding backing singers & questionable beat poets along the way) to become a blend of soulful, melodic rock, something like a cross between Traffic, Santana, The Small Faces and the progressive 1970's funky jazz-rock of Brian Augers' Oblivion Express. Within a short time the group had become one of those names to be dropped by those in the know, renowned for their incendiary sell-out live performances across Europe, yet they seemed unable to break through to the mainstream and claim the commercial success they deserved. The release of their most commercial single - the gospel tinged, haunting "Jesse" was meant to change all that but became an underground cult classic instead.

In 1996 the group finally split because of internal frustrations, mainly due to the fact that they were unable to shake the now deeply unfashionable and totally inappropriate Acid Jazz tag. Subsequently, similar but massively inferior groups such as Ocean Colour Scene, Kula Shaker and other Brit-Pop chancers went on to achieve major commercial success with a watered down and vastly inferior version of the Mother Earth template. Post split - guitarist Matt Deighton released three highly acclaimed folk/rock albums, also played in Paul Wellers' live band for two years and most famously stood in for a missing Noel Gallagher on Oasis European tour last summer. Hammond organ player Bryn Barklam performed with The Buzzcocks, bassist Neil Corcoran had some success with studio based dance projects and drummer Chris White toured with The Angelic Upstarts of all people!

Contained within this double CD are Mother Earth's' finest moments from their three albums, coupled with an interesting selection of B-sides and choice cover versions. But what is most striking is the stylistic changes the band went through - compare the wigged out "Bad Ass Weed" to the beautiful & super catchy rock ballad "Jesse" and you could be hearing two completely different groups. What is apparent however, is the unmistakable quality of Deightons' voice, songwriting and guitar playing, and the remarkable results that can occur when musicians who brilliantly compliment each other aim for the same goal.

The release of this collection is most timely, as earlier this year a newly reunited Mother Earth performed their first live gigs in over 5 years to capacity crowds in London. Since then, word of new material and major headline gigs have hinted that at last this important group might just receive all the accolades they deserve.

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