To me this band is a different Mac Farlane, than his previous presentations, if “The Washing of 05, Threads of Joy of 06 and Boyie of 07, always seemed to have an element of Minshall in it, EARTH, in my opinion is Truly Mac Farlane in design. (Almost anyway.)
Like I said before the band is visually like no other Mc Farlane has done in recent times thus far, but by the looks of the designs, on paper it like it is not his strongest to date
While the theme is current and the designs somewhat contemporary, the costumes lack the kick of previous presentations. Maybe on the road with individuals, a king and queen and other trappings the band can still look impressive.
This is however by no means a pretty mas, Earth is designed to depict the reality of today, that is an ugly one. With sections like Floods of Terror, Army of Fear, Pestilence, and Famine, Earth, Cries of despair is indeed an anti pretty mas, the theme, being dark disturbing, and macabre. Not since Minshall’s Dance Macabre in 1980, or even Peter Samuel’s Dance de la Mang in 1995, has death, pollution, and decay been portrayed on the streets of P.O.S, in a grand way.
To balance this depressing depiction of the Earth dieing Mac Farlane has also designed “Wings of Hope” a 5 section Band for Rosalind Gabriel’s children’s band that would merge with Mac Farlane’s to complete the story. With sections like “New Dawn” “Passion of Humanity”, “Oceans of Rejuvenation”, “Grace” and “Paradise Reborn” the designer not only gives the story a happy ending but also portrays our dreams and expectations that our youth can save us and save the Earth from our destructive habits and practices.
For me “Wings of hope” saves the band, Earth totaly, without these sections the band would be simply boring, while I don’t believe that Carnival is always about Colour, I find the use of Black and White almost monotonous, and the designs of these costumes ON PAPER lacking some kind of a dramatic PUNCH, so the colour in the latter sections is a visual positive, that gives the band, that dramatic STING it seemed to lack in the first part.
There is absolutely no doubt that EARTH, is a contender for another band of the year title for Mac Farlane, however, Trini Revellers have beaten him in the past (2006) and even Legacy with their presentation of Passages are right back in the race.
While I am a fan of Mac Farlane’s work and find his contributions highly valuable to Trinidad and Tobago’s Carnival, and cultural retention, I am of the opinion that he is deliberately retracing a creative, conceptual path long set in stone by Peter Minshall.
With Earth, Mac Farlane has produced some original, contemporary looking designs, but yet the band seems to lack that BAND OF THE YEAR, VIBE I got of the designs in the past.
I give EARTH, Cries of despair Wings of hope FOUR STARS, I don’t think it’s his best work but it is without a doubt a contender for Band of the year 2008!