Release Date: Jun 26, 2012
Record label: Slumberland
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
Occasionally, an act existing beneath your radar spins suddenly into your world with something so full of joy, so full of unbridled creativity, and so encrusted with jewels of love and care that you’re simply glad its trajectory broke the surface ripples of your life. And thus it is with Echo Lake’s Wild Peace. Formed from the South London art-school creative collision of Thom Hill and Linda Jarvis, the duo's debut record shines with a sheen of belief that implies a deep affection for their creations, coupled with an iron will and confidence.
On June 21 this year, Echo Lake’s drummer Pete Hayes died, aged 25. Within that context, it’s difficult to listen to his band’s debut album, ‘Wild Peace’, and decide whether it’s good, bad or somewhere in between. What the south London quintet have made is an album full of delicious dream-pop. It’s calm, quiet and peaceful.
A spiral of heavily processed vocals is the sound that begins Wild Peace, the debut full-length from South London shoegaze duo Echo Lake. The delayed melody lingers a little bit before sharp organ tones and burnished guitars amble in, eventually coagulating into the lushly woozy album opener, "Further Down." The relatively short tune still manages to seamlessly introduce layer after layer of sound, ending abruptly in a much bigger place than it started. Throughout Wild Peace, Echo Lake's greatest gift is their ability to marry strong songwriting to sonic micro-management, decorating their wistful and sometimes dour pop tunes with constant peripheral motion in atmosphere and production.
Echo Lake is indeed a real place, and though it isn't exactly Springfield when it comes to American ubiquity, odds are there's one near you if you live in the states. It's popular for good reason: The phrase "Echo Lake" just sounds like a nice place to live (or make a record in Woods' case). Such assumed pleasantries also work towards the favor of this British group, since each individual word inhabits a lot of characteristics some people want out of indie rock as well: reverberant, liquid, tranquil, immersive.
Upon hearing the opening of Echo Lake’s debut album, Wild Peace, one wonders whether the band will be able to sustain an entire hour of this sound. The record begins with heavily effected, reverb-drowned vocals emerging in front of a gradually shifting soundscape of synthesized sound. Granted, it’s beautiful, full of droning synths, electric guitars, sustained bass notes, and a distant bass drumbeat.
Sadly, the release of Echo Lake's debut full-length arrives just days after live drummer Pete Hayes passed away at the age of 25. But he would be proud of what his band accomplished with Wild Peace. Echo Lake are essentially Thom Hill (production) and Linda Jarvis (vocals), who write and record as a duo. Following up 2011's mini-album, Young Silence, they found a perfect fit with Slumberland for a North American release.