Echo Lake have been through a difficult period. Just before their, rather lovely, debut Wild Peace was due for release their drummer Peter Hayes tragically died. Understandably, what then followed was some time away before they made the decision to continue. Resuming here, at their delayed album launch show.
It was a poignant and slightly difficult occasion, but one that ended in a feeling of triumph. Not least because the raft of similarly minded albums that followed Wild Peace have made that record seem even more impressive than when it first appeared, genuinely soaring where most of the others failed to get airborne. They seemed a little nervous tonight; a bit tentative. Which, given it was their first show in five months is perhaps not surprising. But as the night developed, fuelled by a strong swelling of support from the crowd, they find their footing, and by the end they were as stable as a mountain goat. In crampons.
There’s a beautiful, warming embrace to Echo Lake’s music. Swooping Linda Jarvis’ otherworldly vocal over waves of reverb heavy guitar isn’t particularly novel, but it is something that when done right is a blissful and beautiful experience. The kind of thing which transports you elsewhere, floating you away from a room above a North London pub to another another dimension where you can lay on gossamer clouds and blow bubbles at the daily grind. When they hit their stride, what follows is near epic; Wild Peace feels like falling, no, wait, slow-ly dive-ing, through the sky, a sweetly tumbling blend of motion and emotion, while Even The Blind has a marching backbeat of militaristic vigour over which Thom Hill wrenches shimmering arcs of noise from his instrument.
One of his instruments. He’s a busy man, is Hill; in control of a guitar, a pedal board the size of a door, and all manner of tape loops, samples and synths, which he has to squat on the floor to fiddle with. It looks rather uncomfortable, so let’s hope as they get bigger their rider can stretch to a table. It’s the least they deserve.
While the glut of shoe-gazy, dream-pop bands appearing this year can make you dismissive, just remember it’s fine, so long as we focus on the good ones, which Echo Lake definitely are. This was a short set, but it was enough to make you very glad they’re back and hope that the cruel events which have affected them are now in the past.