Having followed I Mother Earth since before their first album Dig, I was disheartened when Edwin left the band for a solo career. It is true that songwriting in I Mother Earth was dominated by the Tanna brothers, but nobody likes when an original singer leaves a band. Edwin was first (by mere months) to get a new album out, and Another Spin Around the Sun couldn’t sound less like I Mother Earth!
The liner notes shed a lot of light on the album. Lots and lots of studio musicians, different writers, keyboards and programming. Expectations for anything band-like should be dropped. The opening song “Theories” has big echoey guitars, but also very-90’s programmed drum beats and modern “funk”. The 420 references tell us what the lyrics are about, and then the very next song is called “Trippin'”! Maybe Edwin was also high when he quit I Mother Earth.
“Trippin'” was a single, but I remember one of my co-workers “Criss” being incredibly annoyed by it. Even more irritating is another single, “Hang Ten” which sounds like…oh fuck, I don’t know? Sugar Ray meets Edwin? Something indigestible anyway. Edwin’s going for a lounge crooner vibe on the verses before hitting us up with a “big rock chorus” but stumbles under the weight of its own ambition.
Daniel Mansilla, who plays percussion with I Mother Earth as an “unofficial member” lends some class to “And You”. The real percussion stuff is more my speed than the trip-hoppin’ beats Edwin laid down on the first few tracks. Unfortunately what “And You” has in percussion, it lacks in memorable hooks. There’s nothing lazy about it though, especially when it goes into a dreamy Beatles section near the end. At least you can say that Edwin made the most of his solo debut.
The lullaby-like “Screaming Kings” has a psychedelic vibe and a big chorus (enough anyway). As such it’s one of the few that I still remember. I also remember “Shotgun” but not because it’s good. It’s Edwin trying to buy modern punk metal rock or something. Edwin mixes up the genres quite a bit on his album, but I don’t think they always turn into great tunes. “Shotgun” is that noisy rock that frankly kinda annoys me.
Every CD in my collection has a reason for being there. In normal circumstances, Edwin would not have survived a CD purge this long. The only reason I kept the CD is the song “Alive”. This magnificent — nay, majestic — big ballad is the one song that does sound world class. The lyrics are uplifting, the music a perfect fit. Edwin finally gets a big chorus to bellow, and it’s about damn time. It’s also the perfect place for the strings that permeate the album. In some respects, it reminds me of David Coverdale’s “Last Note of Freedom”.
The rest of the album is largely a mirror of the first. There are the dusky pseudo-funky tracks that sound so dated to the late 90’s. There are the darting guitar parts that never coalesce into solid hooks. There are the drum samples. Even the song called “Rush” fails to be one. “Take Me Anywhere” ain’t bad.
In final 90’s fashion, there is a hidden bonus track. Can you guess the genre? “Another Drink” is a lounge song! It’s actually a pretty decent lounge song, with LP scratch added for authenticity, but it didn’t help my impression that Edwin was chasing trends and styles. One tequila, two tequila, aye carumba. (Those are some of the lyrics.)
Edwin followed this album with Edwin and the Pressure in 2002, but it did very little in terms of sales. Edwin returned to a solid rock form with new band Crash Karma in 2010. Another Spin Around the Sun remains essentially a one-song album for me.