Echodrone – Bon Voyage (Self-Release)

Bon Voyage, is the latest effort from San Francisco based shoegazers Echodrone, and the follow up to 2009's full length The Sun Rose In A Different Place. The recent EP extends the themes birthed in their previous record, with vocals taking centre stage and a clearer focus on guitar lines as they entwine around tidal bass. Their clean-cut shoegaze sound morphs into something a lot more psychedelic in Bon Voyage, with breathy dream-pop elements like gossamer vocals and celestial synths floating in.

Released Jul 27th, 2012 via self-release / By Larry Day
Echodrone – Bon Voyage (Self-Release) 'Under An Impressive Sky' waltzes through the speakers, a real roots shoegaze anthem comprising classic ingredients of the genre and of Echodrone. Erupting effects propel the music forward, with layered waves of distortion echoing endlessly until reaching a pinnacle and dissipating, leaving only the ethereal voice of Meredith Gibbons. The introspective soundscapes crafted by Echodrone are all-encompassing avalanches of heavenly bliss, made using a potent concoction of rock instrumentation and electronica-tinged engineering, where each different sound floats in and out of focus until you can't hear where one starts and another ends; the noises blending into one ever changing blanket of sonic fuzz.

Forlorn guitar introduces 'Cold Snap', an icy and desolate track reminiscent of inspirations Eluvium, but featuring the familiar looped vocals of Echodrone. The climax is reached so slowly that not until it's in full swing do you realise how huge the sound is, with the vocals of Eugene Suh and Gibbons repeating “It's so cold without you” seemingly forever, and the stubborn, reverberating guitar going strong underneath the comatose cacophony.

It's not until 'Pure Nickel' that the dream-pop vein really shines, as jangling guitar and the voices of Gibbons and Suh are delivered with a Deerhoof aloofness. It's significantly more upbeat, with a summer-like quality shining through, as if the jaunty dreamgaze brew was destined for festival fields or white-sand beaches.

Self-confirmed fans of Spiritualized and Curve, Echodrone cling to a shoegaze sensibility in their offerings, with brooding washes of thick synths and effects-laden rock dominating Bon Voyage. However, the four-piece are beginning to carve out their own signature sound, adding a dreamy pop component hinted at through most of the EP but only really demonstrated in 'Pure Nickel' and 'Infinite Arms'. It's a solid bridge between their 2009 album and their next LP, showing the organic nature of Echodrone and how they're evolving between records - but most of all, it's a stunning teaser of what's to come.