“No one leaves the caravan.” – IME
I MOTHER EARTH – No One (1993 EMI promo cassette)
M.E.A.T Magazine was such an awesome resource for Canadians. Their exclusive metal content really was second to none. M.E.A.T was on top of virtually every new Canadian band on the scene. Thanks to them, we knew all about I Mother Earth well before they were signed to EMI.
Then one day in early ’93, M.E.A.T arrived in the mailbox slightly thicker than usual. Inside the envelope was a free cassette tape, a promo provided by EMI. Time to see what this I Mother Earth band sounded like. Would they live up to the hype that M.E.A.T was creating?
The full length album Dig was not released until later that summer. Even the music video for “Rain Will Fall” hadn’t come out yet. This EP, titled No One, was all brand new to me. It received a lot of play. Out walking with the Walkman, in the car, at home or at the lake: I Mother Earth swiftly consumed me. I felt pretty cool hearing all this music before the masses did. They were gonna love I Mother Earth.
The cassette (repeated both sides) wisely opened with the chiming guitars of “The Mothers”. Softer and more psychedelic than I expected.
“Listen…to the Mothers…” sings Edwin. The track meanders on a little bit, not quite a full song but also more than just an intro. “A surreal sound of eight-legged groove, a serving of today’s psycadellicasy.” The clever words were written by drummer Christian Tanna, although I certainly couldn’t make them out on my own.
After a long 10 second gap, the uberfunk of “Basketball” crushes the speakers. It’s almost too fast, but surely demonstrated that these Torontonians could play. It’s more than just rock music. The exotic percussion coupled with the tribal-sounding drums really took it all to another level, whether they were playing funky or psychedelic. There’s always room for exotic percussion.
I called “No One” the centrepiece of the album, and so it is also the highlight of this tape. Rather than hyperspeed funk, this one is built around guitar riffs. There are two riffs in particular on this song that just steamroll. When joined with the full-on groove of I Mother Earth, the riffs dominate your brain. Then it gets quiet as Edwin chants “No one leaves the caravan…”, and this serves as a reset before the song comes back full strength for the kill. Listening today, it seems almost impossible for a band to have a song this advanced on their first album. It’s seven minutes of riff, percussion and melody yet there’s no fat to trim out. You’d expect something like this on a third album, not a debut.
Interestingly, none of the songs on this EP were singles. Dig ended up producing four singles. Consider the strength of this promo tape, and you can extrapolate that Dig is probably a really strong album. You would be correct.