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Echo Lake (South London): Era *

Track List

>Light Sleeper
>Nothing Lasts
>Heavy Dreaming

Album Notes

After releasing Wild Peace, a promising debut album that blended the shoegaze richness of bands like My Bloody Valentine with dream pop sweetness, Echo Lake retreated to their friend Misha Herring's studio to work on the follow-up, 2015's Era. The process took two years and found the band stretching and reshaping its sound into something epic and sweeping. Wild Peace was a series of short, murky pop songs overloaded with guitars and topped by vocalist Linda Jarvis' dulcet tones; here, the band takes its time building the songs, with over half the seven on the album going beyond the six-minute mark. Lots of bands who take a similar course find that they don't have the skill to blow out their songs into mini-epics, running out of ideas halfway through or resorting to clichés to get them through. Echo Lake don't do either of those; instead, they show masterful skill at song construction and mood setting, filling space with well-chosen guitar and keyboard sounds, and letting the songs billow and flow organically. On tracks like "Dröm" and the album-ending "Heavy Dreaming," the band goes beyond crafting lengthy songs and goes for full-on mood pieces, sending the listener on inner journeys of sound and feeling. It's quite an impressive leap forward but just so it doesn't seem like they went full Pink Floyd, the band drops in a few shorter songs that re-create the poppier feel of the first album too, with the swooning title track and the beautifully melancholic "Waves" delivering whiplash-inducing shoegaze thrills. The very hooky, liltingly pretty "Nothing Lasts" shows that Echo Lake would be pretty great if they dropped all the aspirations of epicness and just made simple little pop songs instead. They do reach for the stars on Era, however, and they end up shining just like the brightest of them. ~ Tim Sendra


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