Dead Leaf Echo - Beyond.Desire - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Dead Leaf Echo - Beyond.Desire

by Sean Hewson Rating:8 Release Date:2017-10-13
Dead Leaf Echo - Beyond.Desire
Dead Leaf Echo - Beyond.Desire

Brooklyn's Dead Leaf Echo release their second album, Beyond.Desire, on Papercup Music. It was recorded at Gary's Electric studio in Greenpoint with My Bloody Valentine engineer Guy Fixsen and Jorge Elbreht. It shows them trying to find territories outside of the Shoegaze ghetto.

Starting Desire with a lot of Reverse Reverb might not be the way to do it. Delayed drums and other shimmering sounds complete the picture. Just an introduction to the album, it's over inside a minute. Temple has elements of Kevin Shields' guitar style,but LG Galleon's vocal - with his drawling, half-spoken, New York delivery - is decidedly un-Shoegaze. A lovely, violent stab of trebley distortion marks the chorus. More pitch-shifting guitar begins Strawberry.Skin. The more hushed, breathy vocal here recalls Smashing Pumpkin's dalliances with Shoegaze. There is also something of Swervedriver about it, whilst the melody is more like something off Subway records in the 80s. Lemonheart is a little more subdued with jangling guitars under the blanket of distortion and reverb. Again, there's a slight flavour of C86 to this and the melody is quite infectious. Another wall of guitars welcomes us into Tear.The.Heart.In.Two. Kevin K's drums are more skippy here, bringing to mind Loz Colbert of Ride and Simon Scott of Slowdive. Less obviously tuneful, the level of noise brings them closer to Spectres but they also drop out into more melodic passages. There's a change of pace for Beyond.Desire. As the title infers, this is a partner piece to the album opener and the delayed drums are back. It's slightly ponderous but, in the context of the album it works as it introduces variety and you can feel them pushing at the genre barriers. The song is also a duet between LG Galleon and his co-vocalist/guitarist Ana B. Cloudancing very gently picks up the pace with more jangle, sparkle and tambourine. There's even a bit of acoustic guitar, giving the feel of the fuller arrangements of Echo & the Bunnymen (along with some Will Sergeant-like guitar parts), though the vocal here reminds me more of Anton Newcombe. The skipping drums are back for Sunlessoul and the pace picks up accordingly. With acoustic guitar still hanging around, this is more of a strummer. Again, giving it an Alternative 80s feel. Kevin K's fluttering drums bring to mind both The Cure and The Bunnymen. Drifting.Inside is another long, slow song with sheets of noise, acoustic guitar and an impassioned vocal. Whilst the melody is not so engaging, the sheer size of the wall of sound is impressive. It's Starting To Happen (no full stops - hugely troubling) is almost 8 minutes in length. The impassioned but freeform vocals and Steve S's flanged bass reference The Cure (as all bass players do when they step on that particular pedal), something particularly long and dark by The Cure.

I must admit that,on first listen, I had Dead Leaf Echo down as Shoegaze also-rans. Beyond.Desire is still very much in the Shoegaze ghetto but it's towards the noisier, more infectious end, which is the area that I find most interesting. Whilst they don't have the songwriting chops of Halstead or Shields, Dead Leaf Echo have delivered a decent album here. There are also very interesting 80s influences (the Bunnymen, The Cure and the jangly end of C86) in some of the arrangements that contribute towards this being a fully rounded and enjoyable album.

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