Past, Preset, and Future by EchodroneRelease date: January 22, 2018
Echodrone is back with a gorgeous new album, a dreamscape if ever one existed. Sonic sunlight streams through the cracks in your consciousness and peels back the dark edges as this song suite unfurls. This is joyful and even triumphant music, not something that will drag you deep into the gloom. And that is a good thing, for I’m writing this in the dead of winter while sick with a cold amidst the worst political climate I can remember in this lifetime.
We all crave and need something to buoy us up in these tough times, and for me, it’s music like this. It is amazing to consider that all the band members live in different cities and collaborate over the Internet, and that some haven’t even met in person! Eugene Suh (guitarist/vocalist) tells me that the band owes a lot to their engineer, Colin Christian, who takes disparate recordings and makes them all sound like they were recorded in the same room. And in an interesting twist, the group decided to make all their tunes exactly 3:33 in length. Reacting to comments from reviewers that their songs were too long, but also taking into account the idea that a perfect song length is 3:30, Suh decided to challenge himself to restrain the songs to this length. And it’s an interesting experiment that paid off, for these songs just roll through like a summer thunderstorm, briefly striking the listener with brilliant bursts of light and color.
I’ve had a few months to live inside this record, and it’s as sparkling and wonderful as the first day I heard it. There are so many things happening on different layers that it begs for a great set of headphones to truly appreciate what you’re hearing. ‘Threaded Barrel’ jumps right out of the gate with its confident grooves, steady drumbeat, and straightforward vocals. Then it roars! The guitars shove through and dominate, while keyboards add delicate sound motes. Lovely work! ‘Failure’ is very fine dream pop, akin to the recent material Slowdive has produced. Rachel Lopez’s voice floats above shining bands of orchestral pop. I like how it also dials back to just her voice before jumping full on into a wall of shoegaze.
‘The Past or the Present’ is a very cool, trippy song with skittering sonics. Imagine the stuff that Pinkshinyultrablast is doing mixed with A Sunny Day in Glasgow just to get a glimmer of this excellent tune with a massive hook at its core. ‘Open Your Mind’ starts off as a bit of post rock and has massive reverb and a familiar 90s feel (can’t pinpoint a particular band, it’s just a state of mind) and pushes you into the heart of space as it swirls and dabs around your senses. ‘Save Me’ is nothing like the other songs, save for how pretty it is. It’s a straightforward indie pop tune, with filaments of psych bending through it.
‘Below, From Above’ is a total trip fest with shimmering waves of sound enveloping you as you float inside it. Cool! ‘Land of Nothingness’ is a glistening jewel that has hints of other tunes twined through the mix. ‘Home’ ushers in a late 80s synth pop sensibility and it’s luminous pop at its best. ‘Abstract Thoughts’ is the last stop on this record, and it’s a small slice of heaven.
Another great record from this cool band to add to your collection. Highly recommended!