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Echosmith – ‘Talking Dreams’ – Review


Whilst at first sight you might conclude Echosmith to be some hybrid offspring of Paramour and the Mickey Mouse Club, you’d be doing the band a grievous misgiving. As veteran musicians and aficionados we can often be critical, snobbish, and quick to jump the gun. And I confess, at first the four-piece, ranging in age from fifteen to twenty-one, with a combined age of seventy-two looked positively infantile. However, when I left my prejudices at the dust-jacket I soon found myself frightfully unequipped for level of talent found within.

The California quartet’s first studio album ‘Talking Dreams’ is a mix of energetic performances and mellow acoustic numbers, which at times will leave you high and at the next speechless. Echosmith are new-comers, and yet they played Vans Warp Tour both this year and the pervious, supported Owl City on his recent tour and found spots on late night television, including the Conan Show.

It’s no wonder that the band featured ‘Come together’ on their ‘Summer Sampler’ EP and again in the full length ‘Talking Dreams,’ a song which is definitely a show opener. The track combines pulsing bass riff and solid drum track, with a catchy chorus and punk infused verse. ‘Come together’ is accompanied by a feature video which parodies the 80s classic Breakfast Club.

‘Cool kids’ blends melodious blues guitar, stripped-back synth undertones, and driving lyricism. The song chronicles the perils of fitting in as one of the cool kids, and the inevitability of finding your own path as a youth. The song is what everyone thinks as a teenager, but was too stubborn to admit.
For every up-beat track there is a in turn a stripped down acoustic track, ‘bright’ is a ballad, despite the somewhat saccharine lyrics and overall cushy teenager sentimentality, the songs hook is incredibly catchy, and the acoustics incredibly well balanced.

It’s essential to stress the importance of an act like Echosmith on their audience. Modern popular music is a maelstrom of conflicting imagery; chart music tends to have lost the rose tinted message of yesteryear in replace of tawdry fair like Nicky Minaj who stresses the importance of an ample hind-quarter and ex-Disney starlets whose struggle with self-image, and who tend to have polarised their listeners. Chart music isn’t just a melange of twerking and misplaced-oestrogen; there are some paragons of morality in the mix. For all their misgivings One Direction have an overarching positive impact on their audience, and artists like Echosmith do their most to empower listeners. However they have a habit of to being overshadowed by their more eccentric counterparts.

Overall, if you work a nine-to-five job, then perhaps Echosmith isn’t for you; though if you have sons and daughters, nieces and nephews I strongly advise you to turn them on to music like this. Acts which are positively driven, and acts which convey messages that won’t reduce their audience to inanimacy, are acts that will last in the historic memory of music. I am both unabashed and unashamed to admit my conversion to the Echosmith ethos. In a sense this is a coming out story, something all musically minded people should take into consideration. Take yourself out of your comfort zone and you might just find yourself liking what you find; even if it’s a guilty pleasure or a best kept secret.

Tom Keane.

Editor of LLR since 2005

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