Bobby Earth's 'PROGRESSION 2' is Psychadelic Summer Soul at its Brightest
Evan Dale // May 8, 2020
Psychedelic blues – or as he prefers to describe his own work: fluid soul – is the first delineation that comes to mind when hallucinogenic album artwork gives way to the vivid instrumentation of Poppy Garden. The introductory track to Bobby Earth’s new warm weather mosaic, PROGRESSION 2, is in full bloom by the time he pulls his own vocalism into the mix. And from the moment he does, a mystifying middle ground of inebriation and sex paves the way for a subsequent four inclusions that too breathe of an aroma equal parts timeless Summertime R&B and Drunk in Love for the art school dropouts.
It’s a carefully curated balance, that between love and sex; Summer and drunkenness. And it’s one met head-on by the Houston native and creative powerhouse, now three projects deep for his own right and an innumerable collection of releases from his small-market label of equally daring post-indie artists, Milky Wayv. With so much constantly on the move, Earth’s scope of influences and inspirations is explosively wide-ranging. Thus, his music is too, constantly in motion.
Sun Song works its way to the batter’s box after Poppy Garden. Under the spell of Bobby Earth, whose verses boast a certain aesthetic usually reserved for the spoken-word corners of the poetry circuit, Sun Song both opens and closes as an exhibition of penmanship and flow that paints a landscape of hammocks strung between palm trees and gallivanting through the forest on mushrooms. Its featuring chorus, by way of Topaz Faerie, only accentuates that dream state further and makes the entire delivery – sonically speaking – one destined for a place in Indie-Soul music’s most experimental corners.
From that moment to the Ultraviolet next, Bobby Earth sets up a jarring change of stylistic pace to awaken his listeners from their sleepy sensual dream and dunk them in a very much awake, but very much still sensual daytime. UV is an R&B bop by any definition. Underlined by less psychedelic, more pop oriented production, PROGRESSION 2’s third and shortest track is also its one most destined for more of a celebratory embrace from mainstream audiences. And that is no fault of Bobby Earth. The track loses nothing to his listeners that like to hear him contorting the shape of preconceived soundscapes and making them bleed with silky, toe-tapping moods. It just happens to walk the line between particularly well.
It also happens to exist is the most fitting of transitions possible from the funky fairy texture of PROGRESSION 2’s opening two tracks, to the more classically Bobby Earth futurist R&B direction that he takes the project through its closure. All Alone is a layered composition brimming with elevated keyboard runs and an addicting hook jumping straight into the point: getting a lust interest All Alone. There’s nothing under the surface here, and there’s really not supposed to be. It’s a straightforward foreplay anthem and its undoubtedly executed.
With B-Side, Bobby Earth puts away to R-Rating – to an extent. It’s the kind of pop R&B anthem that preaches in innuendoes, but also comes in tow with a dance-worthy undertone so addicting that it’s fit for all audiences if for no other reason that it’s too good to miss. Certainly the most comfortable place to close out the short EP, B-Side through its binge-worthy melody, but also through its title serves its role in keeping listeners looking out for more from the addicting Mr. Earth who never seems to disappoint and appoints new music often.