Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording by Ian Harris, Words by Landon Kuhlmann
Dead Leaf Echo's New York-school noise rock takes on a completely different form than that of their predecessors. Everything you love about shoegaze is here: the vast destruction (or distillation) of guitar tone until it reaches an apex of bliss, the personal introspection alongside cultural rebellion, plus a sense of discovery and darkness that sweep you up at the same time. It's like stumbling into an art museum after hours, where a hollow darkness reverberates through the halls; it's kind of scary, and also kind of exciting. But these songs differ from other songs in the same genre in so many ways. It feels like these songs are crafted with a live-set perspective. You can almost hear them thinking deeply about the music as they play it. There's also an unrelenting energy behind the aforementioned bliss that doesn't come easy: the drum and bass have to exist on a more stable plane than the guitars in order to keep the chaos together. It feel like a platitude to describe music like this as "controlled chaos," but the phrase really fits. Deft songwriting commandeers the music, an aspect of this genre that is often overlooked. The more you listen to Dead Leaf Echo (which is a wonderfully accurate band name) the more these song structures make themselves apparent.
It always freaks me out when people consider the idea that guitar-centric music isn't as prevalent as it once was. That may or may not be the case for the mainstream, but there are still so many bands doing the same amount of trendsetting and sonic innovating that the "legends" did in their day—the focus is just a little different in our age. Sonically, Dead Leaf Echo's vision sprawls like a filmmaker's, encompassing all the different colors that exist on the human spectrum.
Dead Leaf Echo Official Site