REVIEW: “Beyond.Desire” by Dead Leaf Echo (nouveau wave) out of Brooklyn, NY

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Music finds us in different ways. Dead Leaf Echo is a prime example of my faith that good music is still present today– you just have to find it. It’s sophisticated, polished yet chaotic and lastly what makes the album so special is that it’s such a great example of what emotion itself, should sound like when it’s recorded. It’s passionate, layered with our anger, remorse, guilt, love. I highly recommend this album if you want to hear what it sounds like when a band goes their own way despite the risks. Its got moxy. The people behind it are equally as dashing, intellectually savvy and a powerhouse of a writing team. Everyone writes their own parts and has something to contribute. Nothing is done by accident.

I spent time speaking with the band, trying to understand them as artists, I immediately got the dynamic. The motto for this band is raw and relentless expression. One of the driving forces behind the band is LG Galleon (as Ana Breton put it, he’s truly a purist and has completely given himself to his art). Blood, sweat and more blood has been put into this album and the listeners can hear it. The album even takes a new light once it’s played live. They arranged it so that we see these two lead figures – one male and one female interacting off each other as if it’s a dance. Much like the album, the live performance is like a play. The concept of this album invigorates in a play-like manner, the way classical music does– in movements or acts. This format is of course, to me, reminiscent of some of my favorite albums like Dark Side of The Moon or Sgt. Pepper.

I asked the band if this was the concept behind the album, and just as I had suspected – they confirmed it. In Ana’s words, “We’re just telling a story – telling the truth.” The chemistry between these two figures is nostalgically refreshing. Lyrically the album explores the depth of want and desire, the human experience and how it relates to us. They talk about what matters. The struggles and diverse elements we face on a daily basis bound by the human condition. I’ll take that over mumble rap any day. Simply put, this album sounds like Brooklyn to me.

Right off the bat they start with solid songs like, “Temple,” “Strawberry.Skin,” and “Lemonheart.” Throughout the album the band’s sound is consistent. On a technical level, the album explores mostly legato sounds and melodies. They make good use of their sound by exploring different elements, and as a result there is a good selection of songs (be it a ballad, fast, slow etc.) to choose from. Dead Leaf Echo took their style and painted across a broad canvas.

Overall, these guys are very tight.The album builds and releases tension quite well in various moments and snapshots. Sometimes it’s done via the drums which are magnificently played. The bass is put in a sensitive position here because it has to gel just right in order for the songs to flow however it blends perfectly. The low end balances everything out by clever choice of notes.

Vocalists LG and Ana explore a lot of call and response in their vocals. They arrange the vocal structure in such a meticulous way which is evidence of their strong chemistry and attention to detail. LG lays down his parts and feel for the song and Ana then intricately develops her vocal positions. LG’s voice has depth and can transcend emotion to the listener; this ability is a rare occurrence today. His voice has a natural powerful yet sigh-like sound to it and fits perfectly with the reverb and ethereal sound of the band.

One thing I loved about this band is that they chose to employ the polar opposite of LG’s voice on the record. This is where Ana comes in. Her voice effortlessly dances on the songs which has a welcoming nature it has to the ear. Ana’s (vocals, guitar, synth) voice on this record is like a welcoming siren that pulls you in closer to the songs, tempting the listener. Many times in this record there is a pattern of great vocal takes that are dramatic, filled with melodic sighs accompanied by a great amount of soft reverb and echo.

If you haven’t heard this band yet, you can stream their album below and download it here. You can also catch them live on March 29th at the Secret Project Reboot in Brooklyn, NY and on their EU tour in May.

Written by Ricky Frank.

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