Green Hills of Earth

Green Hills of Earth

Now turned on to early Bee Gees vinyl and classic power-pop recordings by the likes of Emitt Rhodes and Harry Nilsson, The Mother Hips here dodged the rootsy twang and jam-rock of their preceding albums. Following the harmonious intro “Given for You,” the pulsing “Life in the City” recalls the best moments from Teenage Fanclub’s '90s recordings. Yet The Mother Hips exude more innovative song arrangements and vocal harmonies that take less predictable twists and turns than even those of The Beach Boys. Green Hills of Earth also found Greg Loiacono providing the album’s more sophisticated songs. “Take Us Out” channels a young “Mother and Jack”–era Robin Gibb, while the standout “Del Mar Station” balances melancholy melodies and sunny guitar pop laced with subtly beautiful guitar leads. Building on reedy Mellotron notes, weird guitar effects, analog keyboard notes, and indecipherable background ambience, Loiacono’s “Seaward Son” manages to be psychedelic without succumbing to overtly retro trappings. Tim Bluhm’s “Protein Sky” proved to be another heady departure.

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