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Reviews

Echo Bloom Echo Bloom
Album: Green
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 12
Website: http://www.echobloom.com

The third and final part of Kyle Evans's three colours trilogy finds the New York-based alt folk rock four piece in the sort of bristling, assured form you'd expect after months working out the material on the road and with the benefit of all the experience that has gone into the project.

While Evans is the frontman, all band members, keyboardist Aviva Jaye, bass man Alex Minier and drummer Cody Rahn, lend their vocals to the full sound although, having said that, the album, produced by Kevin Salem, who also contributes guitar, opens in a more intimate mood with the hushed, breathily sung 'Comet' with Rahn's understated percussion and swirling keys evoking the cosmic atmospherics, Evans musing "what do comets dream as the earth recedes and fades away to black?"

Things kick up on 'The Duke', a tougher, more muscular track with its driving beat and circling distorted guitar riff that takes a sweeter turn on its tumbling, jangled psychedelic pop chorus of "I just wanted to see Evelyn again" that calls to mind the likes of The Rembrandts.

It's back to quieter mood on the dreamily melodic 'Grand Marquis', conjuring perhaps Lindsay Buckingham in its folk-pop flavours and guitar solo bridge before taking another turn with the jaunty 'Cecil DeMille', Jaye's repeated stabbing keyboard notes, splash of horns and the wordless backing vocals underscoring the Sgt Pepper era Beatles influences as, adopting falsetto, Evans reels off the names of such silver screen greats as Brando, Grant and Davis as well as a specific reference to Gloria Swanson's legendary "I'm ready for my close up now" line as Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard.

Opening in swirling clouds of keyboards, 'Song For Steven', sung in treated vocals, surges along with a barrelling drum beat that recalls the glorious tumbling exuberance of 'Ca Plane Pour Moi', only to switch the pace one more with'Anthony', another stand out among the stars atmospherics number built upon acoustic guitar and Jaye's dreamy keyboards, the latter also providing backing vocals as the track builds to a fuller orchestral-like arrangement, its chorus bursting with soaring optimism as Evans sings "somewhere something beautiful is waiting to be seen, come with me, wander through my dreams."

The second half of the album gets underway with Minier laying down the bass riff to 'Fire', a Springsteen-tinged anthem to getting away and finding yourself, its cars and girls imagery bolstered by a burst of ringing, twanged guitar. Even if it does repeat the 'Song For Steven' line about becoming the people we should be, it's one of the album's stand out tracks.

The breathily sung 'Love & Superglue' revisits Rahn's muscular, reined back drum work on a slow swagger rhythm coloured by washes of electric guitar reverb as it builds to its fulsome crescendo. At just over five minutes, 'Mary' is the longest cut here, opening with feedback keyboards drone and muted drums before shifting into slow rolling folk-rock Americana on the back of piano and acoustic guitar flourishes that again imparts an anthemic quality.

When embarking on the colours project, Evans identified what he felt at the time to be his three strongest songs and around which each album would be written. 'The Prostitute' formed the basis for the folky Blue, 'The Businessman' became the fulcrum for the more country-rock Red and now, anchoring Green's pop sensibilities. comes 'The English Teacher', a cascade of acoustic guitar and piano notes built around the verses' descending chords and a Beatles-influenced chorus.

Dialling down, 'The Swimmer' (surely a nod to the Burt Lancaster film given the cinema references elsewhere) begins as a quiet, meditative number with an echoey drum pulse and keyboard swirls before plangent guitar notes join in and it builds to another fulsome climax. It ends, then, in a similar mood to the way it began, echoey pulses of desert night reverb guitar, rumbling drums and Evans' hushed, intimate but dramatic vocals complemented by Jaye's haunted harmonies and piano guiding 'Unchanged' to its ebbing and atmospheric guitar solo close.

Having finally completed the trilogy, embracing a spectrum of Americana-based genres in the process, it'll be interesting to see where the band goes next, but for now, to rework a quote from the 17th century Spanish dramatist de la Barca, Green is the prime colour of their world, and that from which its loveliness arises.

Mike Davies