Earlimart’s Treble & Tremble is exactly what you’d expect from a kid who grew up on the Pixies and X and then had his adult mind blown by The Flaming Lips and Grandaddy. Fat, fuzzed-out guitar hooks, lush layers of stately keyboards and synth washes, thundering bass and drums, quirky subject matter. In short, an effective harmony of sound and vision.
Grandaddy’s influence finds Aaron Espinoza, the man behind Earlimart, successfully straddling the line between inspiration and imitation. Not really surprising because G-Daddy’s Jason Lytle and Jim Fairchild produced some of Earlimart’s last record, Everyone Down Here, and Fairchild is onboard full-time for Treble & Tremble. But far from cribbing, Espinoza has nearly upstaged his mentor. Treble & Tremble may open with a humble piano and voice duet, but “First Instant, Last Report” is all swelling strings, percussive guitar strums, liquefying bass lines, altered vocals and sing-along choruses.
What makes Treble & Tremble greater than the sum of its parts is not who influenced it or who it may be about, but rather the sense of purpose throughout. Each song exactly where it should be on the record, each varied keyboard line, synth part, guitar effect and drum beat reflecting the unity of Espinoza’s ideas.