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The big week of album releases continues with Echo Lake‘s second LP ‘Era’, out now via No Pain In Pop (CD/Vinyl) or download through iTunes. The British band delivered their much loved debut album ‘Wild Peace’ in 2012, a mix of swirling, dream pop anthems. However, it was a bittersweet time due to the passing of drummer Peter Hayes right before release. Do they disband or regroup? The following year singer Linda Jarvis and guitarist Thom Hill resurfaced to begin work on their new ‘Era’ with Misha Herring at Hackney’s Holy Mountain Studio. Their first time working with a producer who could help expand the Echo Lake sound.

‘Era’ is far less pop centric than ‘Wild Peace’, this time round the songs are more ambitious, with open-ended structures that span up to ten minutes. Which is why there’s only seven songs on the 45 minute album. There’s a much stronger psych rock influence and overall, an emphasis on atmosphere rather than melody. The naivety, and even positivity of ‘Wild Peace’ is replaced by a more serious and commanding tone. This evolution may divide existing fans who are looking for a blast of catchy dream pop.

The album begins with ‘Light Sleeper’, a slow building, cinematic epic. Linda’s vocals interject and overlap each other, much like a chant. It’s hard to predict where the song is going, which is one of the album’s big strengths. However, for all the mood setting we need a payoff, and that’s where the lead single ‘Waves’ comes in. A reminder of how brilliant this band are! A near flawless combination of melody, mood and rock n’ roll. The title track is equally impressive, a slight step back in intensity.

The psych pop slow burner ‘Dröm’ is another highlight, even though the lengthy introduction is somewhat superfluous after hearing a similar build in ‘Light Sleeper’, that said, it’s a trippy mood setter. ‘Sun’ and ‘Nothing Lasts’ are the most light hearted moments on the record but aren’t the most compelling. Whereas the closer ‘Heavy Dreaming’ cements Echo Lake’s transition to free flowing psychedelia. It’s the most hypnotic Echo Lake have ever sounded, it’s fantastic to hear them return with such ambition and scope. Not every song rewards you for taking the journey but it’s an otherwise enjoyable trip.

Echo Lake – ‘Era’ [Album Stream]

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Echo Lake - 'Era'
SONGWRITING
SOUND & PRODUCTION
REVERB RATING
PRO'S
  • Ambitious new sound
  • Epic arrangements
  • Something for psych fans
CON'S
  • Less pop appeal than 'Wild Peace'
3.7Overall Score
Reader Rating: (12 Votes)

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