Brooklyn’s Echo Bloom has returned with their fourth album, Wake. It expertly draws from a broad palette of familiar sounds and transforms them into a thought-provoking concept album.
The first seconds of Wake, the new album from Brooklyn quartet Echo Bloom, paints a desolate picture. Visions of boarded-up homes left in the wake of a fresh apocalyptic event are vividly rendered in the opener Three Little Birds.
Appreciated in the context of the soundworld created by the band, however, the atmosphere is anything but gloomy. The playful approach to instrumentation, propulsion of the delta-infused rhythm, and the vitality of the vocal interplay point toward a more complex image: a band that can’t help but tell the story of our times, while cloaking it in ambient beauty.
Fool’s Gold switches gears, with the voice of Kyle Evans pushed to the front of the mix, leaving the ears plenty of room to wander through the layers. This track and the folkier Corsica that follows exemplifies the sonic signature of the band: intimacy and space in equal measures.
The guitar that begins Corsica sounds close enough to reach out and touch — an intricate texture that populates the space between the vocal phrases of Evans and Aviva Jaye, and the tails of reverb that follow.
Beautiful Day is the album at its most sardonic — with nuclear war launched amid idyllic scenes of suburbia — this sun-kissed slice of gentle indie rock is its soundtrack (you should know by now that a band like Echo Bloom wouldn’t call a song Beautiful Day without intentionally undercutting it). Similarly, the single I Met God depicts an encounter with the dishevelled deity on Sunset Boulevard.
But there are times on Wake when Evans allows himself respite from the gallows humour that threatens to swallow us all — especially after the last couple of years we’ve had. Anaphora implores us to “try and find the beauty in everything on the way” in a way that’s earnest without being maudlin.
Maybe We’ll Fly, with its “ten thousand rainbows glued to the sky” gives into the fantasies that surely come to us all sometimes — even if we do feel occasionally defeated by existential dread. It’s one that’s emblematic of the album: while we’re still alive, hope can’t help but flicker.
Wake by Echo Bloom is out on September 3. Visit the band’s website for more details.