Echodrone is a San Francisco-based shoegaze band that have been around since 2007. They have sent us their records before, but i have never reviewed them. There are many reasons for that, really, like being too busy, getting too many promos, and that, well, Echodrone have never stood out from the pack of current shoegaze bands.
Until now. Five is easily the best thing i have heard from this band. It's a really solid record.
Now, the question i have to ask myself is: why do i like this one better? As far as i can tell, there are three reasons:
- i have changed and now find what they are doing works for me.
- This might be an internal change,
simply that they compare more favorably to other things i have heard lately.
- They have gotten a lot better.
- This record is recorded better than their previous work.
Number three doesn't seem true to me. The previous Echodrone records i heard were well recorded, i just found them mediocre. As to the other choices, well, i cannot be sure.
The point here is that people who have past experience with Echodrone might want to give them another try. If you are already a fan, then hopefully you like this album. If, like me, you found them falling flat in the past, then give this record a listen. You might be pleasantly surprised, just like i was.
The album kicks off with slow electro-rocker called Disparate Numbers. A keyboard drives the melody in a very new wavish fashion, but the guitars are droning and the rhythm is an IDM cut-n-pasted skitter. It's a nice intro.
Echodrone then explode on Falling from Planes, a catchy song with guitars shimmering in waves over a nice keyboard riff. This is really lovely and fun.
Noisebed is aptly named. It is a dense guitar growl, with verses where Rachel Lopez takes over the vocals for a change. The tune grows into a spiraling monster with synth noises, Lopez wailing away, and the guitars forming a dense wall. Nicely and noisily done!
Glacial Place is another aptly named tune. This moves really slowly, feeling glacial after the roar that ends Noisebed. Echodrone stretch out here, the guitars echoing like something from Adorable, which is always a lovely comparison.
Up next is Interlude Collage, and at this point i am guessing they ran out of ideas for naming things and decided to just describe the type of piece they were playing. This is three minutes of ambience that kind of sits in the middle of the record.
That ambience continues for half a minute in When Two Ends Meet and then suddenly Echodrone are back, and loud! This is catchy and poppy, with noisy guitars and keyboard trills. It grooves along nicely. Motion Pictures continues that vibe in a way that reminds me of Lush, especially in Lopez's echoed voice.
Less Than Imaginary is another new wavish tune. Keys start this off and the guitar is sparse and echoed over a warbling synth bass tone. Chrome is moody and echoing, but gets really dense at times, almost like something from Jesu.
And finally they end the record with a cover of Octopussy from Seamonsters by The Wedding Present. The guitars here are great, really grinding, and i like the keyboard riff. It is a pretty faithful cover, but louder and noisier than Gedge. A nice end to the record.
So i am pretty impressed. Echodrone just stepped up and released one of the best contemporary shoegaze records in years. Medicine, Mallory, High Violets, Dead Leaf Echo – how are you going to respond to this?