Stories from the North is a new EP / mini-album from Echoglass, a band which originated in Blackburn, Lancashire. It’s important to know that for context because when they talk about the “north,” they’re referring to the Northwest of England, not Canada, the North Pole, the Union states during the American civil war, or North Korea. In fact, if I hadn’t looked it up ahead of time, I would not have guessed right away from briefly listening to parts of their songs that they were from England. I initially assumed they were American. After listening more closely though, their accents are unmistakable.
It’s difficult to classify this band musically as the songs are very eclectic, and Echoglass seems to draw from a wide array of musical influences. There are hints of alternative, classic britpop, adult contemporary, and all kinds of other stuff. The EP contains 4 tracks, but it feels very complete to me, as it’s full sounding and the band doesn’t cut corners. There are no filler or throwaway tracks on here to pad the length. Each song has enough going on to where it could stand alone as a single. I’ll give some brief remarks on each one:
Youth is kind of an upbeat power pop song and a duet. The male vocalist reminds me a bit of Elvis Costello, while the female has a voice similar to the singe from Letters to Cleo.
Sett End strikes me as very alternative. It as a very 90s rock sound. It’s very polished though and not whiny, apathetic or angsty. The lyrics and tone are actually very motivating and uplifting.
Peppermint Place in my opinion is the most britpop sounding track. It’s also my favorite song on the album. Slightly new wave, it has that bell-like synth and deep reverb driven ambiance we’ve come to associate with classic 80’s and 90s British pop songs. Think One Christmas Catalogue.
Belgrave Road is the darkest song on here. Literally the lyrics speak of “the sky growing dark” and how “dreams die here.” Despite the bleak phraseology, it’s a beautiful song and contains an epic synth backing.
Suffice to say this EP is highly enjoyable and punches above its four song weight. From an artistic standpoint, the band’s output lives up to that of the bands and musicians they list as influences, even if they haven’t quite achieved the same name recognition as of yet.
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