Album Review: Echodrone – Five


Release date: February 24, 2015.

Published January 13, 2015 by JB

San Francisco’s shoegaze quintet Echodrone is raising their own bar – and at just the right time.

Beginning out of the blue in early 2013 and through the early stages of 2015 the alternative scene has raised their arms collectively with the revival of past shoegaze glory.  It’s like 1992 all over again if you haven’t gone deaf.  On the heels of comebacks by (seriously, is it possible to do a shoegaze review without sputtering their names?) My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Swervedriver and other hall of fame entries from one of the most remarkable and beloved genres, Echodrone slides into place at just the right time.  It’s like the god’s of shoegaze laid out the red carpet for them.

With the familiar walls of layered guitar Echodrone come to the party with the one headstart so many of the aforementioned bands wisely had – a female vocalist.  In this instance it’s Rachel Lopez.  For many bands the perfect equalizer to the typical indie band photo of alpha males is the presence (and brilliant sound) of the beautiful female voice – putting the perfect layer of calm on top of the manly guitar barrage.  She provides the timely aspirin every time you think a headache might be around the corner.   She’s utilized perfectly.Echodrone_Landscape_1000x563

That being said, the album’s cover version (originally by Wedding Present) closer ‘Octopussy’ is absolutely blistering.   A perfectly powerful rendition for an album that fuses shoegaze soundscapes and melodies with fuzzy dream pop and imagery throughout its extended tracks (most songs are in the 7 minute range).  It’s a great winter album for those wishing it were summer.   A roll your windows down type of album with tracks that make your friends look up from their iPhone and ask, “Who’s this?”

The opening single “When the Two Ends Meet” doesn’t even do the album justice.   Nearly every track is it’s own chapter with only an occasional drop in your attention span.  While being unsure of Echodrone’s long-term plans this album is shockingly great.  Is Five going to be Echodrone’s magnum opus, or merely a stepping stone towards something bigger, better?  What they’ve coyly done is make their next release a bigger deal.  The timing is just right and the opportunity is right now.   Taking the inertia from the shoegaze heroes of two decades ago is all the impetus needed to put a stake in the ground to an enormously growing generation of fans captivated by the songs that bring so many different sounds together to create something that sounds cohesive, like one.   Echodrone got it just right this time.


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