For those who may have slept on Brooklyn four-piece The Adventures of the Silver Spaceman’s 2015 EP, Bare Bones Part I: Oxygen is Flowing Although the Bag May Not Inflate, fear not! Almost exactly one year later, the quartet have returned with the second installment, appropriately titled Bare Bones Part II: Electric Earth. Delivering five songs in approximately twenty minutes, Part II provides a solid, well-rounded introduction to the sounds and styles the group is capable of for the as yet uninitiated.
With quick, clever lead interplay and a driving rhythm section, Electric Earth opens with the EP’s title track. Zach Ellis and Dave Susman’s guitars provide angular melodies that swerve and dive, at times taking the listener into unexpected tonal territory as Zach’s emotive voice expertly rises and falls with the changes. “Expulsion” follows, and has TAOTSS delving into tension-build-and-release psychedelic rock balladry reminiscent of Gish-era Smashing Pumpkins.
With sharp-tongued lines directly aimed at heroes of radio-friendly rock’s bygone era, Electric Earth’s halfway point is reached with the upbeat and poppy, “Weather King Part II”. The instantly accessible mid-tempo beat and sincerely sung vocals offset the often caustic lyrics, and the track smartly ends up being not only the EP’s catchiest moment but also its finest. “Still in Love” finds the band leapfrogging track-wise with another ballad, this one with the welcome addition of an analogue organ and a crying slide guitar. Bare Bones Part II is brought to a dramatic conclusion with “Breath of Fire (Reprise)”, which has singer Zach Ellis digging deep before unloading guttural screams during the songs explosive choruses, culminating in a guitar freak-out that includes additional face-melting axe-work by Andrew Bailey.
Overall, Bare Bones Part II: Electric Earth is a strong and well-paced sequel. All too often, EPs can fall into one of two categories: unfairly abbreviated or tediously longwinded. With Electric Earth, however, the record’s length feels appropriate given the band’s eclectic offerings. The Adventures of the Silver Spaceman tease just enough of their myriad charms to create anticipation for whatever their next move may be.