EOB: Earth review – Radiohead's Ed O'Brien goes eclectic

(Polydor) “I’m not a Ronaldo or a Rooney: that’s Thom and Jonny,” said Radiohead’s second guitarist, Ed O’Brien , in 2008. “But in my dreams I’m a Paul Scholes.” Thirty-five years in the same band leaves a lot of dream time – particularly when your bandmates are on to their second or third acclaimed releases with various solo, soundtrack and side projects – and O’Brien’s debut album, worked on since 2012, finally gives free rein to the creative playmaker behind his unassuming, dedicated team-player persona. Earth , inspired by Carl Sagan and Screamadelica , is eclectic, its shapeshifting songs spinning through folky ambience, euphoric electronics and pulsing dance-rock. It’s best when subtlest – the brooding Mass, its guitars a tense electrical crackle – worst when, as on Deep Days, it recalls Badly Drawn Boy or millennium U2. “Vanity project” would be a cruel name for such a genuine album, but if O’Brien was someone else, it wouldn’t have been produced by Flood, released by Polydor, or feature Portishead’s