The Upshot: Shoegazey dream pop directly descended from the 4AD era.
BY MICHAEL TOLAND
The renewed interest in the whole shoegaze/shimmer pop thing has drawn a well-deserved spotlight to Brooklyn’s Dead Leaf Echo. As the quartet preps its second album for release later this year, it releases a taster in the form of the Strawberry Skin EP. Though the band wields a volume- and distortion-heavy force to be reckoned with onstage, on this digital EP it evokes its avowed 4AD inspirations with uncanny accuracy.
Gauzy guitars that ring, shine and occasionally crunch, creamy harmonies, a reserved but insistent rhythm section and songs that veil pop hooks in the brittlest gold leaf color “I Will Do (Anything)” and the title tune in shades familiar to alternative rock fans with memories going back 30 years. Nothing wrong with that, given DLE’s obvious passion for the sonic wash. “Sparks Fly From a Kiss” walks a different, quirkier road by adding a busy drum machine groove, distorted vocals and cranked-up guitars, calling to mind Curve at its dirtiest. A club-friendly dub remix of “Sunlesssoul” rounds out the EP as a palette-cleanser.
Hopefully the full-length will restore some of DLE’s impressive live power, but Strawberry Skin should still make instant friends with anyone who loves to hear a guitar buried in delay and reverb.
DOWNLOAD: “I Will Do (Anything),” “Sparks Fly From a Kiss”