I've always loved the way The Echoing Green manage to combine poppy melodies with a harder, grittier edge and rockin' electronica-styled rhythms: 'aggressive smile pop' is one description of it that I've seen and this covers it pretty well, I'd say.
This latest offering from Joey Bellville and co sees them in a slightly more laidback, emotional frame of mind with uplifting, heart affirming synthpop numbers such as the appropriately-titled "Bittersweet" and the ultra-romantic "Heidi's Song" (which is dedicated to Joey's wife) sharing space with their more powerful brethren such as the excellent single "Fall Awake" where a thrilling chorus alternates with ethnic-flavoured verses or the darker pop of "Blind" with it's imposing bass chords setting the scene most superbly for another powerful piece (which delivers in a big way, too!) and the dynamic cover of the Simple Minds' classic "New Gold Dream" where Risty Wiseman's guitar adds an extra dynamic component to this piece. As ever, this varied approach results in a wonderous cocktail for the heart and soul, something which is never far from the heart of the EG sound with Joey B's vocals perfectly picking up every emotional nuance that the music possesses. Even the drum and bass-flavoured rhythms of "Starling" can't change that as the emotional mix of piano, strings and synths, along with Chrissy J's vocals mean that none of the music's soul is lost, retaining the established warmth. If it sounds like an odd combination on paper then take it from me that it certainly works in practise, along with the closing "Winter" where an ambient backdrop provides the perfect basis for another lovingly atmospheric number that is sure to leave you feeling good all over while providing proof (were it needed) that The Echoing Green are true masters of their craft.
Artist Link: http://www.adifferentdrum.com