EOB – Earth

Ah. Something else to think about other than a global pandemic. Not that I think it is trivial, obviously, but a bit of normality and proof that something else in life exists means that I love this debut solo offering even more. I thought I would probably like it anyway, considering EOB is the inventive moniker used in this instance by Ed O’Brien – you otherwise know him as ‘the guitarist in Radiohead’ - and Radiohead just happen to be one of my favourite bands of all time. I grew up with them. I was front row at their shows back in the mid-90s and grabbed Thom Yorke’s head when he leaned into the audience, back in the days when we were allowed to touch other people.

In this respect, ‘Earth’ therefore sounds very familiar. Testament to the fact that Radiohead’s songwriting is a collaborative effort, it is clear from the off that multi-instrumentalist Mr O’Brien had a massive input into their sound. Would I think that it sounded like Radiohead if I didn’t know he was in Radiohead? Yes. Despite unsurprising comparisons, EOB is musically interesting in his own right- a stellar cast also take part, including bandmate, Colin Greenwood, Portishead guitarist, Adrian Utley, Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche and singer Laura Marling and it was produced by Flood, the man behind Depeche Mode, PJ Harvey and Foals, to namedrop a few.

Largely inspired by Primal Scream’s ‘Screamadelica’ LP, it was the uplifting joy that Bobby and friends delivered in their seminal release that O’ Brien wanted to embrace here. From the rhythmic, entrancing opener ‘Shangri-La’, which is followed by the tender plucking/emergent beats of ‘Brasil’, there is no posturing or posing. Instead, a man who has enjoyed several decades in music and still loves creating welcomes us into his world with openness and eagerness. A meditative mood is a recurring theme on tracks like ‘Deep Days’, ‘Long Time Coming’, the gloriously epic ‘Mass’ and an introspective ‘Sail On’, mingling with intriguing contrast alongside a cheeky bossanova on the harmonic ‘Banksters’ and the early morning rave in ‘Olympik’, Radiohead meets Elbow and Kasabian at a socially-distanced open mic.

Ending with a stunning folk track, ‘Cloak of the Night’, the album is completely full, offering up a kind of beautiful euphoria that is only seen in material that comes directly from an artist’s core. I wish I had heard this before I had wasted all that time on those online relaxation Zoom sessions. Thank you for mentally rescuing me from my house- where I am trapped with a baby who is trying to walk - and transporting me to a festival, a carnival and then a people-less landscape where I can walk without crossing the road to avoid someone twenty times in twenty feet. ‘Earth’ says there is an end to all this. I have a tiny bit of hope again.

Anna C.


Released 17th April, 2020


Thanks to Warren at Chuff Media