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CD Feature/ Residual Echoes: "Firsts EP"

img  Tobias

There was “never any silence here”, Adam Payne remarks in his beatnick-style prose lifeline, while arranging words into piles, sentences into messy cardbord files, thinking up thoughts at the speed of light and dividing them solely by dots. His band, meanwhile, has just undergone a drastic lineup change, resulting in “Residual Echoes are dead”-news one day and “Residual Echoes are not dead” the next, to the former of which a fan replied with “I love you”, while the latter was commented with “Sick. Shake yer balls”. A month later, the band is not only alive, but back in style and with an EP under their belts to boot, almost kickstarting the Elevation label (it’s number two on their roster) and forging ahead with a style that is as much summerly as it is spacey, as sweat as it is sweaty.

There is no silent moment to be found here, indeed. Payne’s list of influences could include the Beach Boys for the volatility of his honey-like, dreamed-up vocals, but his band is way too much filled with noise-obsessed Indie bands and rock n roll heroes to let the summer of love in for more than just a foot’s breadth. As a consequence, everything is fuzzed-out and flickers in the heat of the sun, from the blurred-but-bright guitar sound, to the songs, which seem to come to the listener as if they were reflected by a Space telescope in the outskirts of a Texan desert: Residual Echoes are not musicians, they are energy catalysts. Underneath the stirring surface, of course, there are worlds of beauty waiting to be discovered and maybe these world need the protective shield of outward raggedness to be able to be appreciated for what they really are, instead of merely a set of cliches. On the other hand: Maybe the whole talk about how psychedelic, Krautrock-infused and low-fi Residual Echoes are has taken away the focus from what their approach really entails.

Which, as it seems, does not consist of trying to stretch arrangements to the max, but to see how flexible the seemingly simple format of the traditional song can still be. Despite the atmospheric use of feedback, despite the long instrumental passages and despite the occasionaly opaque chord progressions, even a crunching, ten minute long tunnel-vision like the closing “Strawberrytea” is essentially no different than the poignant and punky opener “Dosed Clothes”.

In addition to that, I feel that with the new line-up the balance of the band has subtely shifted. While Payne’s writing is still very much the focal point, another element has gradually made an equal impact on the Residual Echoes-sound: Laena Myers-Ionita’s flexible bass pumps the music forwards, as if the inert lava stream were suddenly being pushed by a cool wind. Which is probably why “Firsts”, in accordance with its title, really sounds like a fresh start, even though the ingredients of the band have essentially remained the same: “Finding a new way to play rock n roll” while sticking to its essence as closely as possible. Don’t expect things to get quiet any time soon.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Residual Echoes on MySpace
Homepage: Elevation Recordings

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