Echo Lake’s album captivates from the start. As the ethereal intro to Further Down goes on and on, you want to know what’s coming next, even though you’re happy right where you are. Then, it hits: a guitar strum and those vocals, and chills are gonna cover your entire body.
It’s not just Linda Jarvis’ vocals, which are pure heaven, that make Wild Peace so good. Whereas the guitar work on such a dreamy album could be overpowering, an unwanted distraction, Thom Hill’s melodies create the perfect balance, although without them it could be a little too sleepy. The album offers a strange and delightful blend of warm and fuzzy shoegaze indie pop with grit and soul.
It’s hard to pick a standout on this album, but the aforementioned opener Further Down is stunning, as is the title track, and I found myself repeatedly coming back to Swimmers. Damn, it’s good. I’m really quite in love with the majority of the tracks, and that’s something I haven’t experienced in ages.
The only slight, and I do mean slight, disappointment is that a few of Wild Peace’s more marketable, radio-friendly songs are rather lacklustre. No Pain in Pop are touting Even the Blind as the album’s centerpiece, when other standout moments abound. The pop conventionality of these tunes makes them sound a bit dull in comparison to the beauty and depth of the surrounding tracks. It’s not they’re not good, they’re just not as great.
Echo Lake are, among other things, Cocteau Twins with edge, or Slowdive in a cheery mood, with a dash of Best Coast’s throwback charm. But, the comparisons only go so far. Wild Peace is a really good debut, and really original too. A major accomplishment.