Davide’s score: 4.5/10
Justin’s score: 6/10
Davide: Hailing from the legendary town of Liverpool, Echoes may be newcomers on the scene, but they’re set to impress with a brand-new, self-titled EP. Featuring four tracks composed within the classic drums-bass-guitar-vocals formation, these English rockers choose to showcase original songwriting and instrumentals through a tried and true format.
Justin: I’ll start with the good; “Find Your Soul” is a major highlight on Echoes. The gritty pop instrumental is elevated by the springy slide guitar work that pops up throughout this opening tune. This opener just has a terrific, laid back feel to it that brings to mind memories of drinking beer out of a reusable water bottle on a public beach. Goddamnit, I miss summer. Some of the admirable qualities of “Find Your Soul” rear their pretty heads during the remaining three tracks. Echoes’ upbeat-but-moody instrumental on “Being a Girl Like You” and strong vocal work on the closing tune “By My Side” both made my ears perk up a bit. Unfortunately, Echoes’ seventeen-minute runtime is a pretty major slog to get through.
Davide: The production quality is what stood out the most to me. The straight-forward and raw approach to the mix leaves more than enough space for Echoes to push the boundaries and be creative. Working with only their respective instruments, I would say that their sound is definitely “English,” often reminding me of early Coldplay and The 1975. That being said, I was unfortunately left wishing for more instrumental hooks and surprises or a quality that would allow the entire band to take the stage. This doesn’t mean that the issues pertained strictly to the songwriting, in fact, the vocals are crisp and the performances are tight and well-rehearsed.
Justin: As much as I’d love to relentlessly pick apart every aspect of Davide’s point, I just can’t do it. I’d love to attack him personally, maybe dox his home address, contact his place of business and torch his current and future career aspirations, but my handsome young writing partner has hit several nails on each of their respective heads.
Davide: Somehow, that feels like it would be an appropriate response! This is just an example of how some input from a savvy producer might have helped elevate the overall musicianship. We didn’t get much personal input from each member or a sense of complementary compositions.
Justin: I’d say I’m in a similar boat. When it comes to indie rock, I don’t necessarily need a prog odyssey. Some of my favourite indie acts, like An Horse, manage to say a lot without wilding out in the song structure department. With this more understated approach to instrumentation, your ear picks up on Echoes’ lyrical content. I don’t think the added focus on the band’s poetic prowess is doing them any favours. The band isn’t writing anything too cringeworthy, and lines like “I didn’t mean to make you sad, I feel so very, very bad” from the tune “History” are an example of the group’s lazy rhymesmanship that is prominent throughout their debut EP.
Davide: There were some memorable moments, though: as is the case with Justin, the opening track, “Find Your Soul,” was definitely a highlight for me and immediately proved that Echoes can deliver the true feeling of a rock band. My only concern about this release as a whole is that it may have played things too safe. I don’t doubt that this makes for an easy-listening experience or that there is certainly potential for commercial appeal, but shaking things up is what could potentially make an impression on unsuspecting listeners.
Justin: I wouldn’t suggest that Echoes should be totally written off. Like my writing partner, I think Echoes have some commendable musical talent and an obvious appreciation for quality production. Instrumentally, the group is par for the indie rock course. The band to put some more work into their lyrics. However, I think they would really make themselves stand out from the crowd.
Written by Justin Bruce & Davide Spinato
*Edited by Dominic Abate