Radar Band Of The Week – No.45: Echo Lake

Echo Lake
Echo Lake: the Brummy gang trimming the whiskers on the shoe-gaze beard

Ah, the Rebecca Black Effect. No sooner had the spectacular Dan Nixon-directed debut video for ‘Young Silence’ sent Echo Lake crashing softly into the blogosphere’s armchair, than eagle eyed commenters were gleefully chiding the hapless nubiles for its alleged likeness to James Frost’s ‘House Of Cards’ Radiohead video. It’s true: slated as the first ever Microsoft Kinect music vid, the discombobulating 2D on 3D effect occupies familiar dimensions to the tree fanatics’ effort. But forget graphics nerd stereotypes: these plucky nu-gazers won’t go down without a fight.

“What’s wrong with that?! You see so many videos with bands nowadays where they’re just fucking playing a show, or backstage drinking beer, doing the same generic things that apparently rock bands do,” rants guitarist Thom Hill. “What’s wrong with doing something a little bit different? Even if it may have been done sort of slightly once before…”

Thom has reason to be ruffled: just half an hour ago, he was abruptly made redundant by Oddbins. Likewise, Echo Lake’s peculiar trajectory began after a dog’s arse of a day a year or so back; to cheer themselves up, Thom and singer Linda Jarvis grudgingly relinquished some songs to Myspace. Within hours, hip London indie No Pain In Pop was plotting the release of debut EP ‘Young Silence’, whose modest run of 500 copies sold out before they could so much as pop the champers.

“It’s weird, we released it on Valentine’s Day, and by the time we did our launch show the Saturday of that week, the EP was sold out,” says Thom. “We were doing a launch show for a record that wasn’t in print anymore!”

That EP strikes a delicate balance between lush ambient pop and psychedelia. Their tinnitus-baiting live show, however, demands ears of reinforced steel; taking cues from Sonic Youth, Smashing Pumpkins and My Bloody Valentine, the band’s sonic exhibition builds on the brain-frazzling aesthetic of the ‘Young Silence’ video, zinging along on Pete Hayes’ Jimmy Chamberlin-inspired drum thwacks. “I’d rather do something like that than be a boring and generic fucking rock band, y’know? Pretending to be cool.”

Steadfastly resolved on their reverberating vision, the London quintet offer a singular voice among oceans of echoes, echoes, echoes…

Words: Jazz Monroe

Need To Know:
Due out in June, new AA-side single ‘Breathe Deep’/‘Another Day’ purports to blend a disorientating psychedelic pop bent with funky R&B rhythms. Of course, it will sound exactly the same as the rest of their songs, which suits us just fine
Linda first flexed her vocal nodes in a Belgian school choir
The mums of guitarists Kier Finnegan and Thom are best chums, and the boys have been buddies since the minute Thom popped out the womb. Bless