Originating from Birmingham, progressive rock band IO Earth were formed by school friends guitarist / vocalist / keyboardist Dave Cureton and keyboardist / guitarist / vocalist Adam Gough in 2004.
Their self-titled debut album featured the talents of singers Steve Balsamo (The Storys, Jesus Christ Superstar), Claire Malin and Louise Braggins, and was released in 2009. Running to nearly 100 minutes, the double disc album was split into three movements – “Water”, “Earth” and “Air” – and was a very impressive debut. Additional instrumentation was provided by Steve Trigg (trumpet / flugel horn) and Jason Reynolds (saxophone).
The slightly more streamlined successor “Moments” followed in 2012 with the same core line-up, which was completed by drummer Richard Cureton, and bassist Christian Nokes, with Luke Shingler taking on the role of saxophonist / flautist. Malin was unfortunately forced to leave the band in 2013 due to ill-health and the desire to spend more time with her family.
With the line-up now consisting of Dave Cureton, Gough, Nokes and Shingler with new members Jez King (violin / guitar), Christian Jerromes (drums) and Linda Odinsen (vocals) comes the release of the band’s third studio album “New World”.
Ushered in with sounds of the wind comes Odinsen’s vocals for the delicate opener “Move As One”. When second track “Redemption” hits, however, things get a whole lot more proggy and quickly. An almost metal-like guitar riff introduces a track featuring Eastern sounding orchestration and saxophone, some superb drumming and a wonderfully fluid and melodic guitar solo.
And there we have the tone of the album set out, really. The soundscape is full and lush, there’s lots going on, a wide variety of styles tackled, plenty of different instrumentation and textures. Like the debut, this is also a double disc record with quite a lot to take in audibly. For all that, though, this isn’t a record that ever feels like hard work to digest.
The musicianship is top-notch and there is plenty to admire artistically and technically, and anyone worried about Malin’s departure can rest assured that Odinsen is a gifted vocalist and really shines on this album.
Personal highlights include “Fade To Grey”, “New World Suite”, the fantastic “Insomnia”, “Body And Soul”, the guitar heavy “Colours” and the closing title track “New World”.
To me, IO Earth are a progressive rock band unlike any other. Such is the breadth of their musical vision and the success that they have in managing to present their ideas in a totally compelling package. Highly recommended listening…
1. Move As One / 2. Redemption / 3. Journey To Discovery / 4. Trance / 5.Morning / 6. Collision / 7. Fade To Grey / 8. New World Suite / 9. Insomnia / 10. Red Smoke / 11. The Rising / 12. Body And Soul / 13. Colours / 14. Follow / 15. Dreams / 16. New World