Sunday 16 October 2022

Thousand Yard Stare - Earthanasia

Slough five piece and Even The Stars favourites Thousand Yard Stare deliver another album - Earthanasia - their fourth from the studio - and it’s everything we have to come expect and love about them. 

Originating in the late ‘80s, Thousand Yard Stare were always favourites of ours - from that first gorgeous Weatherwatching  EP in 1990 to the reformation celebration at London’s Borderline some twenty-five years later - and despite covid and geographical logistics, they’ve delivered a record as glorious as 2020’s Panglossian Momentum. The constant queues and massive turnaround times at record pressing plants means that Earthanasia is available on cd and tape only. A bold decision from the band but the right one as these songs deserve to be heard.

In these troubled times, there’s something deeply reassuring about a Thousand Yard Stare album. You know you can switch off for the next forty or so minutes, relax and enjoy some uplifting, reflective pop music. 

Opening number Brocken Spectre is a driven Krautrock instrumental and a fitting prelude. In the same vein as Whiplash-era James, Brocken Spectre is an upbeat, muscle flexer to get the album underway. It’s always interesting how Thousand Yard Stare carefully frame their albums - it’s never just a collection of songs but a crafted, considered sequence. Earthanasia is no exception.

Measures was the one of the five singles released from the album and is in the same rich vein of classic Thousand Yard Stare singles like 0-0 After Extra Time and Buttermouth. It’s driven along by Thousand Yard Stare’s fine rhythm section Dom and Sean. Latest single Espirit Du Corps slows the pace down and is a bit of a departure for the band. It’s more reflective and features Stephen’s warm, rich, emotive vocals. Later on in the album Adverse Cambers delivers in the same way and it’s these types of songs that set Thousand Yard Stare from those ten-a-penny going-through-the-motions type bands.

2021’s Upping Sticks was the first song to be released for this album and is another one of those timeless pop songs that the band do so well. Borrowed Time is possibly the band and Stephen’s most reflective, melancholic moment ever and as soon as it is over will have you reaching to replay it. Stripped of guitars, it’s based around piano and synths and demands your full attention.

Hivemind sees a change of pace and dynamic, presenting a much harder edge to their sound yet still maintaining a danceable groove. An incredibly driven guitar dominates. The most radio friendly cut is Isadora; a two-minute pop punk tune that should be a staple on the playlist of any alternative radio station.

On a first listen, Square Peg Round Hole was my pick of the album and reminds me of those Thousand Yard Stare songs I loved when I was still at school. This album demonstrates though that the band are not living on past glories but forging ahead.

Earthanasia brings the album to a close and slows the pace back down again. It’s another slice of deep reflection from Stephen.

The transformation in the legacy of Thousand Yard Stare is quite remarkable! When they disintegrated around 1993, they left their fans with small but impressive back catalogue and their place in musical history was a footnote at best. That has all changed now though with Earthanasia and the magnificent predecessor The Panglossian Momentum. Thousand Yard Stare should rightly be viewed as one of Britain’s finest purveyors of pop and their output far exceeds that of many of the more lauded bands around these Isles over the past thirty years.

Thousand Yard Stare's official website can be found here where you can purchase the album and they are on Facebook and Twitter.

They play Birmingham Hare And Hounds (October 21), Brighton Prince Albert (23) and London 229 (November 4).


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