The 70s and 80s had a lot of good, innovative music. It only makes sense that modern bands would try to emulate the sounds that skyrocketed groups like The Cure and Depeche Mode to a level of success that allows them to sell out tours even to this day. However, with all the great music ideas, there are also many bad ones and New York indie rock group Dead Leaf Echo comes close to learning what happens when the best and worst ideas are paired together.
Their latest release, Pale Fire, features all the effects and distortions that any shoegaze fan would expect, but the caterwaul vocals are so overly distorted and imbalanced at times that the EP makes a person think this group would have been better off naming themselves Dead Cat Echo instead of Dead Leaf Echo. Dead Leaf Echo constantly teeters between their goal of lush, ethereal vocals and obnoxious, over the top mewling.
If Dead Leaf Echo could have harnessed what they were trying to achieve, this record could have been brilliant. The instrumental explosion found at the end of “Thought Talk” gives a taste of this potential brilliance. The density of the instrumental build carries the listener from track to track, effortlessly using decrescendos and crescendos at the perfect moments.
By the end of the EP, the fluidity of the songs leaves the listener feeling that they took a dark trip through one long, emotional piece. Sure there were ups and downs like the bumps in the road caused by the inconsistent use of vocals, but it was an interesting trip. Although, if this really was a car ride, I doubt many would have the patience to sit through it.
Dead Leaf Echo’s Pale Fire is available now on Year of the Gallon.
01. Warm Body
02. Thought Talk
04. Cry the Sea
05. Pale Fire
06. Reflex Motion
Written by: Bethany