Earth Has Doors – Wymond Miles

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Four songs never felt this heavy. Temporarily leaving behind the light-hearted vibe of his day job as the guitarist for The Fresh & Onlys, Wymond Miles’ recently released his debut solo EP, Earth Has Doors.The EP sits like a weighted thought inside your earlobes, and with reason: Earth Has Doors is definitely well thought-out. Composed and then shelved years ago, Miles took a second look at the EP after studying humanities and philosophy, imbuing the short release with his musings about our modern distractions and the cosmos, in general.

Though Miles may be coming from a deeply serious and reverential place, something about his voice and the combined sound of each of these tracks is so overly dramatic, it serves as a self-parody. Miles is the phantom of the operatic, his voice quavering and wavering in pitches and cavernous echoes that draw little emotion and instead implant empty drama into each number. An entire number, “As The Orchard Is With the Rain,” dedicated to melodramatic guitar plucking, forlorn violins and gusts of wind doesn’t help anything. It all reads heavy, dark…and somehow detached.

The first song, “Hidden Things Are Asking You to Find Them,” sounds like a meditation tape soundtrack to waves crashing in slow motion (and I’m not just talking about the title). The music builds to repetitive crashes that melt into Miles’ voice, sending the words backward and the catch of the current to the forefront, drowning and sparkling in the sun simultaneously. The most positive-vibe song on Earth Has Doors, the happy bubble of “Hidden Things” is still shot through with Miles’ hollow voice that sounds overacted in a way that disconnects from the sound of the song.

Miles’ voice is just as distracting in the final number, “Earth Has Doors, Let Them Open.” Yet it’s much more at home in the second number, “Temples of Magick.” Miles’ voice leads this tune off with a quasi- operatic intro that embraces the Dracula Musical vibe. “Temples of Magick” is the perfect title for a psychedelic horror B-movie of the 60s, and the song rides a similar line between drugged-out glory, evil urges, and pure farce (even if the “farce” is unintended).

Ultimately, as much as the ideas behind Earth Has Doors intrigued me and the compositions of the first two songs sent shivers, I found it hard to connect with Miles’ voice, a distance that took the meat and gravy out of Earth. I’m not searching for a Messiah in my music, but I couldn’t help feeling that the large and lofty ideals Miles meant to convey through these four songs were kept just out of reach, stuck in the overdrawn shadows like stars in molasses.