Thursday, September 4, 2014

Review: Hello Echo - Echo

Today’s musical landscape is littered with a plethora of indie rock bands, each trying to develop and to promote that certain something that will help them rise to the top. All you have to do is screen through obscure music site after music site to see the incredible breadth of bands, all fighting to stay above water with gimmicky names and clever tricks. Yet, for rising act Hello Echo, there’s no need for tricks, gimmicks, or over-the-top antics; they simply let their music do the talking.

The band was formed when vocalist and guitarist Sean Aylward, who’d spent two years recording and touring with Apollo Sunshine, headed to the West Coast and began working on some solo material. A chance meeting with Mike Silva (drums, vocals) and Mike Sarno (bass) while on a surfing excursion in Baja, Mexico, led to an impromptu jam session and an explosion of chemistry which the trio couldn’t deny, leading to the birth of Hello Echo. Their debut release, Hello, grabbed great reviews and that’s something that’s bound to continue with the release of their sophomore project, Echo.
Drawing from a template that does recall acts like Modest Mouse and The Pixies, Hello Echo still crafts music that is altogether their own, bridging together elements of rock, folk, surf, punk, and blues, stirring it together to create a savory gumbo.

“Growing Old and Sleeping” kicks the party off to a shuffling start, the arrangement simple and almost sing-song like before giving way to the garage rock of “Country” with its big bass lines and gritty vocals. “Watch Through the Lines” connects a lot of dots, with a funky island groove in the bass lines while a rocking guitar riff rages over the top while “Coffee Cups” hints at some old school rock influences with its melodic jams and radio ready sound.
“Under a Spell” is appreciably funky, a swirly guitar line weaving its way through the composition with some creative flair which gives way to the plaintive Americana folk of “Tumbleweejy” and its sweeping strings and plaintive piano tones. In contrast, “Lion” is a slow builder assembled around Silva’s tight percussion and ambient tones that gradually develop while “A Drop is an Ocean” is a good, old fashioned blues rocker, Aylward’s guitar work and vocals well suited to the task.

Keeping listeners on their toes, the band then delivers the lighthearted island-tinged jam “Big Sur,” bright and simply beautiful before seguing into the ambling “I Wore it Too,” a track that hints at island tones with a plodding drive and smooth harmonies. “Don’t Add It Up” shifts gears back into the more creatively eclectic, blending harmonica, strings, guitars, and more to deliver a subtly moving soundscape before closing the record out with “And We Both Know,” a track that is gentle and moving.
On Echo, Hello Echo continue to impress, delivering hefty slices of creativity alongside solid musical chops and a poignant delivery. The result is an album that you want to hear again and again and there’s no better compliment to give than that.

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