Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Ian Grimble and Richard Matthews of Communion Music at 2KHz, Crouch End, London
The other night, I was doing some late night driving, home from a place where they were selling craft beer, some delicious hard apple cider and there happened to be a band playing as well. The drive was just the length of a record, so in went a Rodney Dangerfield greatest hits album, and while a lot of it was dated, or more for others, there would be these one-liners that were spot-on, or incredibly thought-provoking, even if they were mostly plain and uncomplicated. They were jokes about his obesity, his ugliness, his ever-cheating wife and his dickhead kids ("And my daughter, she's no bargain either. Let me tell ya."), but occasionally he hit you with something that you couldn't help but think about and remember. One of those lines seems pertinent - if only partially - when listening to London's Echo Lake for most of the afternoon today.
Dangerfield told a joke, as I passed through the darkened countryside of eastern Iowa, past cornfields filled with slumbering combines, silent stalks of corn and rabbits and pheasants tired of being chased out of their homes all day, about a strip club that went something like this, "I never get any breaks. I saw a sign outside this club and it said 'Topless.' I said, 'Great." It said, 'Bottomless.' And I said, 'That's great.' I got inside and the place was empty."
It's this kind of room that Echo Lake takes us into, without any of the deception that there will be breasts and bush run wild. It's a space that feels completely scooped out - not a gutted feeling, but one where you could either sink down or float away into some kind of abyss, depending on your density or buoyancy or what you have more of. There's not a floor or a ceiling to be found. It's a sensation that the band - led by the dreamy vocals of lead singer Linda Jarvis - accomplish with sweeping moods that often give off the vibe that you're near a coast and there are words landing ashore from some unending expanse, greeting you - finally -- with a weathered weariness.