The new Echo Lake EP, Young Silence, is a swoon-pop soundtrack for dreaming–but it won’t put you to sleep. Haunting vocals echo through this EP as though scattered atop one another in layer, upon layer, upon layer. Everything is surreal, yet tastefully seasoned with pinches of synth (Omichord?) and percussive elements that give songs defining character. Don’t pass off this EP for one long droning dream sequence—an infinite loop of lo-fi zzz’s.
It’s amusing how little this EP incorporates negative space—that silence before something important. It seems as though the sound can fill the biggest room while being tranquil like a sedative. Even the drums, which at times are absent, barely float across the surfaces of the music, rarely breaching other instruments. Drums are great for changing pace, mood and character. They can make an entire song, or an EP. They use rhythm to build a canvas, which other instruments adhere to. In short—drums are important. The first time you heard the drums really break through coat upon coat of echo effects, is a third of the way into the last track, “Buried At Sea.”
And so there’s that track title—“Buried At Sea.” That’s how you feel listing to this EP, surrounded by water, slowly sinking until the sun implodes into a tiny white dot. And then the EP ends, and the first track begins, and you can listen through the entire EP for second time, and it sounds a little more interesting the second time around.
Lyrically—I couldn’t tell you; they’re nearly out of reach. The vocals are drowning in their surroundings. But perhaps that’s where the listener can make up for a lack of negative space, by filling in the barely audible lyrics with their own craft. Here what you want to hear, but I can tell you that Linda Jarvis has a pretty voice, and she’s a great artist. She designed the band’s website and cover art.
“In Dreams” could be a black-market bootleg of a Radiohead track. It’s not Radiohead, but in the ball park, and that’s saying a lot for new band. You get that same experience of audible clarity, a buildup of euphoric anxiety. This is where the album opens up, burns off the fog and reveals something truly spectacular.
What you don’t hear on this EP is their cover of “Alisa,” an Ariel Pink cover, which features a tech-savvy video, apparently the first music video made using a Microsoft Kinect, an interactive controller for the Xbox 360, in this case hacked to mimic an illusion of three dimensional space. It’s beautiful and it amply portrays the Echo Lake sound, which weaves various sounds together, rather than filling a void with a torrent of noise.
Enjoy this EP for what it is—hypnotic pop music.