Veldisa by EcholustRelease date: November 18, 2016
Label: Cleopatra Records
Right from the start on ‘1799’, Long Beach post punk/synth pop band Echolust remind me of classic 80s synth pop. And I don’t mean the junk that dominated commercial radio, this is more closely aligned with early OMD and Psych Furs. The band formed in 2011 and consists of Philip Obando, Armond Angeles, and Tony Lee Jackson.
They have clearly listened to a ton of vintage music, yet they don’t copy the greats so much as reinterpret those influences through the myriad of genres sampled on this record. Moving into second place is the stellar ‘Dark Hair Girl’, offering up a feeling of cozy reminiscence, yet keeping listeners slightly off balance with its fuzzed out guitar lines, icy synths, and vocals that will send you straight back to the 80s. ‘Decor Blonde’ trots out some dense, layered shoegaze, yet rather than ramming you hard with stun gun guitar and bass, the song is restrained and graceful, reining back on the sonics to reveal Philip’s delicate vocals. ‘For Least Resistance’ is terrific post punk with guitar textures that immediately remind me of very early Psych Furs. Icy synths trickle between and around it, wrapping it up in a tasty dark wave bow.
‘Cherry Dancer’ almost sounds like Dean Wareham channeling Richard Butler and mashing it up with Neil Halstead styled guitar. Clearly, the band has deep connections to the past, even as they repurpose heavily visited genres. ‘Lotus’ opens the door and psych wafts in, as evidenced by the opening drones. This mixes effortlessly with the band’s take on dream pop, and it all works brilliantly.
‘Electric’ is electronica with a dark wave sheen, while ‘Zombie Birds’, a single released earlier this year, is a fine offering of post rock. It shows that this band isn’t a one trick pony, and they could easily go in a bunch of different directions stylistically and succeed. ‘Velvet Holiday’ is another stab at shoegaze, populated by massive walls of thick, ropy bass and filigreed guitar figures. The vocals flit and out, reminding me slightly of The Wipers. ‘Doublespeak’ is a lovely, longish synth pop tune, returning OMD or even Depeche Mode to my mind. The album’s final track is ‘This Blurry Kill’, which is hazy, widescreen dream pop.
To wrap things up, I think this is one of the better albums I’ve heard in the past month, and I recommend it highly for all the reasons mentioned herein.