self released, 2010, DD tracks, free
Echo Rain picked two tracks to send me, although there are several more on their Facebook page: one of the two reviewed here, ‘Hold On’, has a download button. The first thing I’ll say is that this is beautifully recorded and mixed, with some really juicy instrumental sounds: there’s a bass fill in ‘Hold On’ at around 2:20 where the tone fairly sings. The songs are very melodic with a sing-song quality, and the band texture is pretty heavy, although not brutally so; the arrangements are varied and creative, with passages of counterpoint vocal, and a dramatic use of dynamics. There’s a discipline here, with a good awareness of how to project the material to best effect. The sound is all about high energy and heartfelt emotion: to my ear it’s not hugely distinctive, but the technical standards are remarkably high, from songwriting, through instrumental and vocal performances, to production. Without something a little more controversial or quirky about their approach I think they’ll need the support of a label or brand to find an audience, but this stuff is radio ready, so they could definitely look into licensing and synchronisation. My conclusion? A bit generic, but highly accomplished.