Dead Leaf Echo: Pale Fire
Dead Leaf Echo

New York outfit Dead Leaf Echo (guitarist LG, bassist Mike D., keyboardist Liza B., and an unnamed drummer) is nominally a shoegaze band in that grand Slowdive and Ride tradition but traces of other groups appear on the group's six-song Pale Fire EP too. In “Thought Talk,” LG's vocals exude a silken softness characteristic of Pink Floyd's David Gilmour, and the ringing guitar jangle in “Tears” calls to mind the inventive colourations Johnny Marr brought to The Smith's material. Dead Leaf Echo's penchant for swooning vocal melodies and epic guitar riffing can sometimes make Pale Fire seem like a Loveless -Siamese Dream fusion (the time-slowed closer “Reflex Motion” in particular recalls the My Bloody Valentine classic). With mixing duties handled by Ulrich Schnauss, the title track is not surprisingly the most epic of the lot and shoegaze devotees should prepare to bask in seven transcendent minutes of slow-motion guitar and vocal melodies. When the climax arrives five minutes in, it feels like a tsunami is crashing down upon the listener—and oblivion never felt so good. Wisely, the group sequenced the song fifth; had it opened the EP, everything thereafter might have paled in significance.

June 2008