Scene and Heard – CCCXXV: Little Harwood –  Echoglass (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

31564014_367203920431088_8748641652291141632_oIn the parlance of the younger and hipper than myself, “What’s not to like?” When it comes to bands as interesting, eclectic and wonderfully disarming as Echoglass the answer is, well, nothing. ‘Scuse the double negative.

Firstly when listing the great and good from their North-West homeland they casually throw in iconic artist L. S. Lowry and equally iconic, in some circles and on some terraces at least, clothes designer Gary Aspden, alongside the more expected musical name drops of The Beatles, Oasis and Ian Brown. Secondly their back catalogue already features a fascinating and mercurial blend of musical styles and lyrical subject matter. 

They have wandered between the Americana vibes of Last To Know and the subtle balladry of Drowning, the free-spirited and nostalgic indie-pop of Blackburn Boulevard and songs such as Memories which seem to bring all their influences together to walk a line just west of The Lilac Time and just East of REM…if you can imagine such a thing. I can, try it, it’s great.

This time out they continue to revel in the heritage of their own neck of the woods, celebrating a time when the North-West was the beating heart of a whole new musical movement, one that spliced rock and dance, indie and rave in a wonderful two-fingers up to the smug London music moguls. It was never about where you were from, its always been about where you are at…this was exactly where it was at!

And like the new musical gene-splicing and genre-hopping that made up that scene, Little Harwood is a wonderful blend of indie cool and rock muscle, pop structures and accessible hooks, matter of fact, kitchen sink drama vocal narratives and soul infused harmonies. As eclectic as ever but given Echoglass track record, predictability was never going to feature highly in the equation.

And the video also takes an interesting turn. Rather than just fill the screen with out of focus photographs and shots of the places and bands of the scene that the song centres on, with money an issue they instead just approached people to dance to the song in any way that they chose. To dance like there are 6403 people watching…to date. And the results are great, not because they are cool and choreographed, but exactly because they aren’t, that they are just people they know or have found, doing their own thing and having fun.

In lesser hands a song celebrating times past would have been a cheap musical pastiche of borrowed sounds and copied sonics, the video a slideshow of scrapbook rose-tinted nostalgia. In the hands of Echoglass it becomes something rather Spezial.



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