The release of the first Echo Lake full-length proper, ‘Wild Peace’, in June 2012 was overshadowed by the passing in the same month of the South London group’s drummer Pete Hayes. It’s taken two and a half years for this follow-up, ‘Era’, to see the light of day, and again there’s the strong possibility that it might fly under the radar, given the uncommonly strong release schedule that has kicked off 2015 - one that shows no sign of abating.
That’d be a crying shame if it were to happen, because again, Echo Lake have managed to take a slew of barely-original touch points and make something genuinely intriguing about them. Woozy, melodic dream pop is once again order of the day, but there’s something considerably more expansive about the band’s approach this time out; where ‘Wild Peace’ felt intimate and self-contained, ‘Era’’s soundscapes look outward and aim to reach further. The guitars on ‘Waves’ simmer against lively percussion, whilst the eight minute ‘Dröm’, one of several tracks to feature a sprawling running time, takes the group’s old penchant for nodding furiously in the direction of My Bloody Valentine and does something different with it, not least thanks to an increasingly prominent, ringing synth loop.
Ten-minute closer ‘Heavy Dreaming’, meanwhile, hints at real ambition; Linda Jarvis’ Beach House-esque backing vocals accompany her own lead over the course of a blissed-out ten minutes, guitar and synth battling each other for prominence. It plays like ‘Era’ in microcosm, really - looking forwards, not backwards, with a level of drive that you have to hope will be rewarded.