I’ve been procrastinating on the new Echo Wall EP, Navigable Darkness, because it’s that super-awkward thing when you’ve quite vocally supported a band and you don’t really like the new one. Nothing they’ve done wrong – they’ve not suddenly started to suck or anything – but it’s just not putting those chords together in quite the right way to tingle your spine. Until you get to the last track. From the opening bars, it’s an ahhh yes, that’s better, as you remember what reeled you in to them last time.
Maybe it’s because the percussion’s a little more oomph-y, the vocals further down in the mix (they’re lovely vocals, but I prefer it when they don’t dominate), and the instrumentation more dreamlike.
You’ll probably disagree with me and love all of it, as many do. New York blog 27 Teeth say The Echo Wall
“create scenic arrangements so vivid they’re damn near tangible … At their best, the band touches the pinnacle of moody Americana defined by acts such as the Cowboy Junkies and Lambchop. The songs have an ageless quality. They unravel slowly, while the roomy production gives every note room to ring out.”
This track, my favourite track, The River, is almost psychedelic. It’s driving-in-your-car-at-3am music – past the point where things make sense and firmly in the place where you’re not entirely sure what’s real any more. (Better be a passenger, on second thoughts.)
Anyway, if I’ve held off enthusing about the rest of Navigable Darkness because I’d regard it as best left to beardy types who really loved the first 29 Sufjan Stevens albums, I have no such hesitations about The River. It’s as much of an acquired taste as bacon.