Last year, this band first hit the music scene by releasing their Young Silence EP, which demonstrated their ambient/psychedelic pop styling’s. On their first full length, Echo Lake lives up to their name in the biggest way; Wild Peace is a collection of distortion and mirages that combine to create a cloud of hazy indie rock that may leave listeners a little hazy on how they feel about this record.
Things start out bright on the first track, “Further Down,” with an intense amount of echo to the vocals and thick layers of guitars and synthesizers, as expected. It’s a good balance between the harsh electronic sounds and the sugary vocals, which give off a creepily serene vibe. Juxtaposed well, these elements hook you, making you wonder just what exactly this band has to offer. Echo Lake continue on the upward slope with the second song “Another Day,” which immediately bubbles above the first track in energy. Whereas the first track was mysterious and dark, the second is lighter, with its jangly percussion and faster tempo. Linda Jarvis’ voice takes a more prominent role here, leading the song instead of becoming another element of the atmospheric background; a role I wish it would take more often on the rest of Wild Peace.
To me, this album feels a bit like the gradient shown on the cover in that it starts out so strong, but gradually fades away from your attention as it progresses. Such is a shame, as there are quality tracks to be found on the second half of songs, but by the time you get there, things already feel too far out of your reach as though you’re only hearing echoes through a wall of the room next door. Take “Last Song Of The Year,” which is an exceedingly interesting listen on its own. With more pronounced percussion and clearer, centralized vocals, it comes across less ambient and more like noisy lo-fi. Complete with some nice guitar lines interspersed, the song makes for an easy and enjoyable listen, but it’s buried seven layers under massive amounts of atmospheric buzz that prevents it from standing out.
There just simply isn’t enough variation from track to track to give this album the ups and downs it needs to prevent it from being a large mass of fuzz and echoes. Separately, there are some really solid tracks on Wild Peace, but collectively, it comes across as flat, missing the production it needed to push it to be something great.
Wild Peace is out now via Slumberland Records.