Hard –  Echoglass (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Echoglass has always proved to be very chameleon-like when it comes to genres and musical styles, equally able to deliver spacious indie soundscapes as they are R.E.M. style alt-rock. Latest single Hard not only sits towards the latter end of that sonic spectrum but pushes even further into the boisterous and rocky territory beyond. Guitars head out into raw and riotous garage band territory, drums pound out solid calls to arms and the middle ground is a mesh of brash and brooding rock and roll urges which act as the perfect platform for a song shot through with such darkness.

And whilst they have always been able to wander various generic pathways, the bands cohesiveness comes less from the style of the music of the song at hand but from their ability to use such songs to create small slices of grim reality. Even at their most upbeat they are able to conjure honest snapshots of the life in the slow lane, of the kitchen sink dramas and the daily grind of the man or women in the street. Sometime quite literally. Not only is there something quintessentially English about them, there is also something quintessentially northern about them too. Like the difference between The Kink’s small, idyllic vignettes and Pulp’s insights into modern life, perhaps.

Their mercurial nature is highlighted when you compare Hard to the next song in the pipeline, Little House. The former being a visceral slice of music with a video pushing some dark imagery, the latter a more minimalist, alternative pop affair with an animated video of bright colours and seemingly more positive vibes. Though this being Echoglass, eventually reality strikes and there aren’t any clear cut happy endings. Far from it.

But that is what I love about Echoglass. Theirs is an honesty rarely found in modern music. They eschew the saccharine sweetness of pop, they avoid the fairly tale cliche of rock, they side-step the overtly cool for cool’s sake moves of indie. Instead they wander all genres and none, I’m not saying that we need a new generic category for the band…. or am I? If I am then let’s call it post-genre and be done with it.

Perhaps if more bands were brave enough to just follow their own hearts, explore the music which best suits the point that they are trying to make, write songs that naturally emanate from them rather than from the latest record label marketing meeting of focus group statistics, then music might be in a much healthier position. Actually, there is no might about it!

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