Guitarist and songwriter for The Fresh & Onlys, Wymond Miles, has just released his first solo effort on Sacred Bones, entitled Earth Has Doors. In just twenty minutes, the visually-evocative four-track EP seems to progressively journey through vast territories of earth and space.
Side A, with the tracks “Hidden Things Are Asking You To Find Them” and “Temples Of Magick,” begins slowly in folk-psych fashion, as though Pink Floyd have picked up a cowboy crooner, with whom they are now ambling through the desert. The cowboy gradually finds his role by lethargically using his tools — simple compositions of guitar and drum — and spurs his steed along with an occasional bluesy twang. As the end of “Hidden Things Are Asking You To Find Them” nears, the cowboy has located himself, as evinced by his hooting and hollering and sudden embrace of instrumental crescendos and vocal swells. “Temples Of Magick” likewise follows with wolf-like howls of noise, and heavy drums and rim shots translate visually as the cowboy bursts through saloon doors with shotgun barrels smoking. He is newly confident, panting and practically free associating as a verbal and lyrical free being. What had begun as an unsure stumbling through parched lands has reached town with an energetic bang.
Side B seems to start back at zero, to tell a new tale situated far from the desert, cowboys, folk, or psych. Listeners are greeted with a viola and classical instrumentation on “As The Orchard Is With The Rain,” a wordless post-rock track that is the most gentle offering of the four. Hints of spacial noise creep in here and there, subtly tying it into the next track, “Earth Has Doors, Let Them Open.” Whereas Side A was like growth upon earthly ground, Side B is like the promise of celestial exploration, beginning with simple organisms curious about what lies beyond the Earth’s surface and ending with full-fledged take-off. The cascading drum patterns, whirring tape delays, and sci-fi synths of “Earth Has Doors, Let Them Open,” makes it easily the most compelling track on the album — a fully-formed and dramatic idea that feels as though it is constantly traveling with forward momentum.
Recorded in Miles’ home studio on 8-track, Earth Has Doors is particularly fascinating in that it somewhat parallels Miles’ life interests. The EP comes after Miles has received his college degree in Humanities — “with an emphasis on the philosophical implications of the ecological/economic crisis of our times,” according to the press release — and you hear simplicity grow into complexity time and time again on the album, perhaps akin to the growing complexity of ecological and economic issues. Yet Earth Has Doors gives a listener hope; it leaves one unable to wait to explore the great unknown with Miles, and to nod “yes” to opening the doors of Earth and the stars, which lead to who knows where.