Their debut EP Sky Above Quarley Hill has seen them compared to U2, but if there’s anything of the global stadium conquerors to Echotape, it manifests in their music in a far darker, more haunting way than any mention of The Edge & Co would have you believe. Still, those big shimmering guitar lines are a good reference point, and there’s certainly an accessibility to Echotape’s music that hints that these lads are far more than just your typical flash in the pan effort. Taking to the stage at 93 Feet East, lead single Unstable proves to be superbly tight – driving, percussive, building up piece by piece a sound that extends far beyond the stark confines of the Brick Lane venue.
The set feels short, but maybe that’s just because each track is a kind of mini-gig in itself, riding through from hushed beginnings to wall-of-sound crescendos – you get lost in it, time falls away, all that exists is the moment. It’s powerful stuff, and the band proceed through it with unfussy competence – there’s no pained showboating here, just a refreshing workman-like ethic, and in that, a respect for what they’ve created. There’s a knowing trust in their own sound, and from that trust stems a far more natural bond between artist and art. Throw in a dash of Echo & The Bunnymen cum latter-day Radiohead introspectiveness, plus the fact Echotape are produced by Killing Joke’s legendary Youth, and it already feels like there’s an impressive heft to the group as an entity.
On record, the tracks are great. Live, they’re even better; especially nine minute epic, Spinning, the undoubted highlight of the show. With touches of early Simple Minds to its spiralling, rhythmic backing, it slowly unfurls, returning again and again to the kind of hook that in your mind’s eye you can already see soundtracking the twilight hours of a festival appearance. The sun on the cusp of going down, crowds wearied by the day’s exertions, but holding on for this one last, utterly glorious moment. Spinning is that sort of track, and Echotape are that sort of band – these days it’s rare for an up and coming rock group to nail a truly euphoric sound, but tonight’s set – small though it might have been – offers a window to something far, far bigger in the making.