Please read Alain Dupuis’ pick for I Mother Earth: Dig before reading our reviews below.
I Mother Earth (or IME for short) made waves in the 90s music scene in Canada, no doubt in part to the fact that they managed to sound just derivative enough to be lumped in with the Pearl Jams, Jane’s Addictions, and Stone Temple Pilots of the world, while managing to sound different enough, and really showcasing their talent and unique take on songwriting. Most of us think it’s a shame IME didn’t pick up a lot of traction in markets outside of Canada – They were fantastic! Darren and Alain are looking forward to seeing I Mother Earth take the stage in Calgary in October with Our Lady Peace.
All of us liked Dig to varying degrees.
What was cool about this album:
- IME hailed from Canada. Awesome!
- Dig aged pretty well, despite sounding like a 90s era album
- We liked the dynamic range in the album (fast n’ loud here, slow and soft there…)
What we didn’t find so cool:
- The songs sounded very derivative of other 90s alt-rock contemporaries
- A couple of us had trouble initially getting into the album
We have also implemented a rating scale that you will see below in the reviews. All ratings are out of 5.
Our Reviews Average:
Overall opinion: 4
Would we recommend?: 4
Influenced our tastes: 2
Worth the hype? 4
Read our full individual reviews below.
Don’t agree with us? Have a comment or suggestions? We’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment or contact us.
Our Full Reviews
Scott Coates’s Review
This month’s pick is another Canadian one, and a more in depth introduction to a band I knew of, but didn’t really know beyond one or two key radio hits from the nineties.
Overall Dig is a pretty solid offering that has aged well but definitely has that nineties sound and feel of alternative angst that was so popular and prevalent at the time. The album works well as a complete work rather than just grabbing at singles here and there. It takes the listener on a voyage of sorts and reminded me it was not so long ago artists constructed their albums as complete works that were meant to be taken as a trip from start to finish.
While I like the vibe and sound of Dig, I found many tracks blended together and sounded awfully similar. After a listen I couldn’t differentiate between too many of the songs. So Gently We Go is a pretty rich track, very chill and funky, definitely one of Dig‘s standouts. Undone also falls into a similar category, taking the listener on a tripped-out journey.
Few bands are entirely original in their sound and I couldn’t stop thinking of Janes Addiction while listening to Dig. The band seems to have borrowed heavily from their stock and many of these tracks could be slid into a Janes album and fit right in.
I hate to evaluate bands on the basis of being Canadian versus international, and while I enjoyed Dig, I don’t think it resonates much outside of Canada’s borders or brings anything overly unique to the international music scene. It solidly fulfilled Canadian content requirements on radio but would be tough to recommend to a friend from elsewhere.
If you’re looking to bolster your knowledge of Canadian rock, Dig is a solid bet, fun for a few listens, but long term I’ll likely turn to some more inventive acts.
Overall opinion: 3
Would I recommend?: 3
Influenced my tastes: 2
Worth the hype?: 3
Darren Scott’s Review
I dig I Mother Earth, Dig.
I had to say that. I was excited to listen to this album for this month as I have always liked I Mother Earth and even saw them live at some point in the mid-90s. Even though I knew I liked them and this album I can’t say it was a band that bubbled to the top of any of my playlists that often. Now that it had been many years since I listened to them I was ready to dive in and give them another spin.
Starting with an atmospheric intro track called The Mothers I was set in a good mood to get into the meat of the album. Next up was… Pearl Jam’s Even Flow? What the hell!? I thought this was I Mother Earth. Oh wait… the song is slightly different, I guess it is I Mother Earth, but that guitar riff is 100% a rip off of Stone Gossard’s Even Flow paying. I have to say, I struggled out of the gate at the time and even now a little of thinking that I Mother Earth jumped on the alt/grunge bandwagon and sounded at times very similar to bands like Pearl Jam, The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Jane’s Addiction. Even though that sours my opinion ever so slightly, I have to say that this band definitely deserves a listen and addition to any rock fans music collection.
Not necessarily unsurprising, some alt rock or punk bands are not the greatest of musicians. However, I was blown away at the sheer greatness of this band musically. All the players and Edwin’s unique vocals gave I Mother Earth an amazing sound. These mofos can play! Put on great headphones and just listen to them play and I know you will be a fan. So good.
I also really liked that they tried to mix up their songs a lot and they seemed to challenge themselves. This is not a band like Motorhead, AC/DC or Nickleback that has many songs that all sound similar. I feel like they were trying to take me on a journey with them through crazy and sad times. Really great songwriting here. I’m always drawn to faster songs so Rain Will Fall and Not Quite Sonic were good for me though I did enjoy slower melodies in So Gently We Go.
I Mother Earth is a great Canadian band that deserves all the praise they get. I’m actually going to see them again in October and can’t wait! For the purpose of our group The Sonic Collective we are judging albums on how they influenced other musicians and made an impact on the music industry. Though there is no doubt that IME is a fantastic band, I also have to be real here and say that I feel that they were more influenced by bands that were ahead of them like Pearl Jam rather than the influencer of upcoming bands. There is no shame in the fact that they were amazing at what they did in the 90s and now, but I would have to say they won’t ever get credit for that sound.
Looking forward to the concert I Mother Earth!
Overall opinion: 3.5
Would I recommend?: 4
Influenced my tastes: 2.5
Worth the hype?: 3.5
Scott Gregory’s Review
I Mother Earth broke my heart.
It was my first year of college. My friends and I spent most of our time drinking, chasing girls and rocking out. We were young, dumb and full of appreciation for Canadian music.
My first experience with I Mother Earth wasn’t Dig, but the follow-up Scenery and Fish. One of the singles, One More Astronaut, was absolutely torching Canadian radio and I had to listen to everything this band put out. I tracked down Dig and a couple songs really resonated with me as well. I couldn’t wait until album number three!
Then the fucking band broke up.
I was crushed. I never gave Edwin’s music a chance, nor did I pick up the next album by IME with Brian Byrne on vocals despite really liking the single Summertime in the Void that got a lot of traction in Calgary. Needless to say, it’s been a while since I listened to much of anything by them (or Age of Electric, or Stone Temple Pilots), but I was ready to forgive and give things a re-listen.
Dig is every bit as wonderful as I remember.
I’ve always had a deep appreciation for 70s stadium rock, prog/psychedelic rock. On the flip side, really driving guitars and aggressive drums are great for me too. This may seem like a strange comparison, but I’d have no problem stacking early Metallica albums with I Mother Earth, as they cycle through instrumental journeys and pounding guitar solos and verbal assaults.
So Gently We Go‘s soft vocals with a nice the gentle groove is by far my favourite song on the album. It’s now part of my permanent playlist and just sort of blends into anything you want to do. It builds into a crescendo about four minutes in, and lets you down slowly at the end. I highly recommend enjoying it drunk or high, whichever is your preference.
Rain Will Fall is in your face from the start. I remember it from the radio way back. Not sure why
it didn’t hook me into the first album at the time, but coming back to it (both the after Scenery and now) I find myself moshing and head banging just as hard. It’s a great singing in the shower song, if that isn’t too much info. I can also imagine Alain karaoking this track, which I’m sure would bring a tear to my eye. If you don’t sing at all, enjoy the funky guitar riffs!
Finally, the lead off track The Mothers and subsequently Levitate are a great pairing. I’ve seen IME live a couple times, and they transport me back to watching the amazing show they would put on. I can still feel the energy blistering off these tracks. They drag you around changing pace, featuring the vocals, breaking into guitar solos, and thumping out the bass.
Overall, I find this album has aged well. Or maybe my tastes haven’t? I know there’s a 90s Canadiana rocker trapped inside me that’s never quite given up the good fight, clutching desperately to his Sloan, Headstones and Limblifter CDs. Still, if you like to mingle some musical trippin’ with headbanging, this is an album for you.
Overall opinion: 4
Would I recommend?: 4
Influenced my tastes: 5
Worth the hype?: 4
Greg Jorgensen’s Review
This album was a surprise on several levels. Firstly, it was surprising that I’d never heard it before. When it came out in 1993 I was in prime music listening mode. I had my awesome yellow Sony walkman, the radio was always on, and the drama room at high school – where my friends and I spent every minute we weren’t in class – always had someoen’s CD collection blasting. Secondly, I was surprise how much I really loved this album, mostly simply because I rarely hear something these days that I regret missing when it was new.
I loved the variety found in the songs on Dig. The tempo changes, the vocal range, the space given for instrumentals, the use of instruments not often heard, like organs and hippy-dippy percussion…it call came together really well on every song. That’s not to say a few tracks dragged a bit, but even those that didn’t grab me were really well put together.
The Mothers is an interesting song to open with, beginning with a tinkly-winkly opening but using some heavy drums and guitars to pull you into “Levitate,” the next song, which plows right into heavy rock and roll that continues with “Rain Will Fall.” I tend to like heavier music, so I was drawn more to songs like these ones. Standouts for me on the album were Not Quite Sonic and No One, which has some blistering guitars. Me likey.
That being said, when they got quiet and shushed up a bit, as in So Gently We Go, it was still a pleasant listen and a great example of IME playing with tempo and style. The first half of this song sounds like something you’d hear sitting on a cushion on the floor of a hash house, stoned out of your mind, but segues powerfully into a great showcase for Edwin’s vocals and steady, purposeful guitar and thumping drums, which almost drown each other out – in a good way.
There was a definite undercurrent of the alternative music scene threaded throughout Dig, but not so much that you can immediately place it smack in the middle of the Nirvana/Pearl Jam/Smashing Pumpkins era, which produced many artists that had a sound very much defined by the time. There was something about Dig that could make you wonder if in fact it came out five years earlier…or later.
I really liked this album and wished I had paid more attention when it came out. I feel like a lousy Canadian missing such a great native release.
Overall Opinion: 4.5
Would I recommend: 5
Influenced my tastes: 0
Worth the hype: 4.5
Alain Dupuis’ Review
Dig was surprisingly challenging for me to get into at first. As I mentioned when I picked the album, I was a big fan of a couple of I Mother Earth’s follow up records, but I hadn’t ventured backwards into their discography. Unfortunately, Dig as a whole didn’t really blow me away. There were some standout songs, however, that really had my attention.
Not Quite Sonic is one of the singles from Dig that I have heard on the radio from time to time. It’s a solid, driving rock and roll song that brings a lot of energy to the room whenever it plays. It is definitely one of my favourites.
Levitate is one of those tracks I enjoy for the dynamic range and aggression. The guitars on this song are particularly noteworthy. Really great track.
I also really enjoyed Rain Will Fall. Its frenetic energy and driving rhythm consistently rocked my world. Edwin’s vocals are never better. This is another one of my favourites from the album, earning a permanent spot on my Assorted Shitmix playlist.
So Gently We Go reminded me a bit of Edwin’s later solo work, with a laid-back, almost “surfer-rock” aesthetic that serves as a reminder that it’s okay to slow down and just enjoy yourself.
I wish I could say I completely enjoyed the rest of the album, but that’s just not the case. The second half of Dig kind of just lost my attention, and no matter how often I made an effort to dive back in, it just didn’t work for me. Even when I randomized the album, I seemed to gravitate back to the songs that occupy the “A” side.
Listening to Dig is like jumping into a time machine and emerging in the early 90s Canadian alternative rock scene. It’s somewhat derivative of the music that was out at the time, but still completely unique. I Mother Earth brought a whole different vibe to their music, rife with tribal percussions, old-school synths, and strange pedal effects on the guitars, and gravelly vocals that all add up to an album that I enjoyed but didn’t fall in love with.
If you’re looking to dive into I Mother Earth, I’d recommend you start with their album Scenery and Fish. It has all the elements that made Dig good, but took it to another level that is difficult to ignore.
Overall opinion: 3.5
Would we recommend?: 3
Influenced our tastes: 2
Worth the hype? 3.5