Echo Bloom – Green
Green is the latest full length album from New York City based quartet Echo Bloom, once a pet project of its front man and songwriter Kyle Evans, but now a fully realized band of musical equals who are audibly committed to realizing Evans’ songwriting. There’s a surprising and satisfying amount of variety on their new album Green as well as the same thoughtfulness, both lyrically and musically, that defines the band’s past releases. Evans has clearly developed as a songwriter in ways that broaden the material while still remaining unquestionably faithful to the initial sound and approach that garnered him attention from the first. Echo Bloom has been quietly carving out a much deserved reputation as one of the best and most intelligent modern acts working today, playing as often as they can and earning a fusillade of critical acclaim along the way. Green will, undoubtedly, continue along the same upward trajectory.
“Comet” introduces Green to Echo Bloom’s audience with great feeling and artfulness. There’s definitely a strong electric folk influence coming through this song, but it’s closer to an evocative alternative rock tune than anything else. It’s a song that certainly succeeds thanks to its solid construction, but it also never rushes to achieve its effects and the guitar playing builds to some notable climaxes. The choruses for this collection are an abiding strength and one of the best comes with the first song. The album’s second cut “The Duke” dispenses with the patient approach heard in the opener in favor of a cacophonous, bruising alternative rock driven by guitar and possessing a strong groove. Evans may be the songwriting talent filling each new release from the band, but it feels like he’s truly hit upon the ideal lineup and configuration for this unit. His vocal support from keyboard player Aviva Jaye is an underrated factor in what makes this a memorable album and the rhythm section of bassist Alex Minier and drummer Cody Rahn turn in one consistently fine performance after another.
Jaye’s contributions are especially important to more offbeat material like “Cecil DeMille”, but Rahn’s drumming demonstrates a consistently talent for helping shape these songs in a significant way. The offbeat nature of this song sits just fine alongside the other tracks on Green despite having a distinctly different feel. It’s clear that Evans and his musical partners don’t think in terms of commerciality and singles, but the song “Fire in Your Eyes” has those qualities in spite of themselves and exerts tremendous across the board appeal while still maintaining the same commitment to manifesting their own voice that we’ve heard in earlier numbers. There’s a steady striding feel to the song “Mary” and the confident retro sound returns without ever sounding like a rehash of what’s come before. The dual vocals from Evans and Aviva Jaye are quite effective and have a tremendous amount of intimacy. Echo Bloom’s latest release elevates their profile higher than ever before while reaffirming all the strengths distinguishing their earlier studio releases.