Echo West – Echoes of the West

Echo West never sounded as much gothic as on this new album. After a first minimal electronics lp and a second cd that featured some darkwave and angstpop
influences their new cd has a very traditional dark gothic atmosphere.

Luckily this is gothic in a tasteful way with classic electronic darkwave influences. In the background there are often industrial sounds but on top of that typical gothic elements are placed, like dark synth lines and dark vocals. The track ‘Time of Broken Ties’ is a good example of this. At other moments the music sounds more bombastic, almost martial sometimes (‘Hellred Light’).

For the fans of the minimal electronic style of the first lp and 7” there is little to be found on ‘Echoes of the West’. Only ‘Stranger Town’ comes close to this sound. It also has a sort of Silent Signals sound, which is the side project on Invasion Planète that seems to focus more on the true minimal style now.
But, if you are looking for dark electronics or original gothic music this cd is a good record.

The third album of Echo West, after the “Some thought us dead” cd and the “Signalisti” LP. Again this German project treats us to a feast of analogue electronica steeped in the best 80’s wave and electro tradition, in a style which the project refers to as ‘Angst-Pop’. The title track, which opens the album, offers a dense wall of feedback and noise, as if to scare away casual listeners. They who have stayed are rewarded with much more accessible minimal electro tracks, like ‘Time of brokened ties’, with electronic sounds as cold as The Klinik could make them.

Compared to “Some thought us dead” most tracks sound clearer (with a better production) and more melodic, and less noisy and experimental. The cold, monotonous vocals also play a bigger role, as always accompanied by a dry drumcomputer. Though in general the songs sound a little more stripped than before, there are still plenty of cool bleeps and effects to enjoy for lovers of antique electronic gear.

Many tracks are rather dark, like the threatening ‘Hellred light’, or slow and melancholic, like ‘This cute bad girl’, with vocals reminding of Joy Division. A mechanical rollercoaster ride like ‘Human Faith’ brings back memories of Suicide. At times there is space for some lighter moments, like ‘Stranger town’. More experimental soundscape-like tracks are also present, like ‘Eletheia Elesion’ or ‘These highlands we like’, perhaps comparable to Dark Day or Nocturnal Emissions.

Though not yet as poppy as for instance The Rorschach Garden, “Echoes of the West” has become a quite accessible album, which can be appreciated outside the small circle of nostalgic electro connaisseurs. Echo West seems to have found the perfect balance between raw underground sounds and attractive melodic songs. They can be enjoyed live in Amsterdam on June 18th 2005 at the HEX party.

artist: Echo West
label: Dark Vinyl
details: 12 tracks, 51 min, 2005 [DV #51]