Another View of Nibiru’s Etiolation

by | Jul 2, 2019 | Guest Posts, Song of the Day

Previously, Reverb Raccoon reviewed ‘Etiolation,’ the title track from the latest album by Nibiru. Today, guest poster Gavin Baker plants another seed between the crevices.

I am of the Anunnaki, interdimensional beings that visit the planet Earth every few thousand years. We arrive at a time called Nibiru, when the barriers between our worlds grow weak. — Nova, Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated

Nibiru is more than just a mythical lost planet from which the supposed Sumerian gods, the Anunnaki, journeyed to visit Earth; it’s also a really dope band. Nibiru hails from St. Louis and comprises Ben Osborne, Simone Sparks, and Mark Plant. They describe themselves as ‘noise not music, raw pop.’ Nibiru is an appropriate name for a group making surreal, chill songs like ‘Etiolation.’

The song has a strong start with low-humming synthesized horns, accompanied by guitar, leading into the first verse. The slow, hypnotic lyrics coupled with an overall messy feel – some words being swallowed by louder guitar riffs – reminds me of the 90’s, when I chilled at a friend’s house listening to psychedelic garage bands on a cheap stereo with a single ancient speaker.

Vivid imagery and varied temperatures bring the song to life. There is a contrast between the cool, Autumnesque flowers described in the verses, and the warmth of the chorus. Burning, glowing, creeping slowly. The track has a good pace, and lets you imagine the scene playing out as it goes. Having the first and second verses sung by a male and then female voice, respectively, lends the song a nature of duality.

Etiolation is a process that occurs in flowering plants grown in the absence of light. Skinny, weak stems, small leaves, and a pale yellow color are its symptoms. The root of the problem in ‘Etiolation’ is youth that has failed to bloom, not from lack of trying but from sources outside its control. The song describes classic teenage angst: fighting against a system that claims to know what’s best for you, a system that then turns around and uproots you before you have a chance to bear fruit. The end result is always contrary to the original image.

Finishing out the song, the catchy beat distorts and fades away leaving me wanting more… and possibly some snacks, too. So I grabbed some munchies and checked out the rest of Nibiru’s songs. My favorites are ‘The Truth,’ from the album Etiolation, and the single ‘Headphones.’

‘The Truth’ fulfills more of that grungy, angsty need. A painful screeching start lets you know what you’re getting into before the track kicks into full gear with a blitz of dirty guitar riffs. The track is more energetic than ‘Etiolation,’ yet can easily fit in with a couch chilling jam session. I strangely appreciate the ‘Intermission’ in the middle of Etiolation, which feels so surreal before seamlessly ‘Careening’ into the next track.

‘Headphones’ cemented the band’s chill nature with me. A mundane daily occurrence like commuting explored in a mash-up between trance-like surreal and raw punk pop is the kind of genre-exploring music I crave. As an introvert, I can relate to the lyrics of mindlessly navigating through crowds while pondering loftier goals.

Unless the long lost planet Nibiru returns in the near future, bringing about the cataclysmic encounter predicted by popular prophets, I’m looking forward to this band’s next release. It may not be music, but I can dig the noise.

Since 2013, Reverb Raccoon has featured the best music from unknown and independent musicians. His interests include eating leftovers from the neighbor’s garbage can and watching The Royal Tenenbaums.  Email:

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