If the first album seemed to lean more towards the nostalgic part of Siamese Youth‘s Future-Retro tag, this time out it is all about looking ahead. Electric Dreams saw the band unashamedly drawing on the inspirations and influences from the past, Echoes of Tomorrow, as the title neatly reflects, is all about where the band go next. And that seems to be to move slightly away from their more obvious musical sources and embrace the next chapter with a style and sound palette which is more their own.
That’s not to say that fans of the first album won’t find lots to love here. The Siamese Youth sound is still intact – smooth and scintillating synths, electro-pop energy, anthemic euphoria, technology and emotion locked in a loving embrace – it is just that now they seem to apply it more creatively, more adventurously, more maturely. The sound of the band’s second album is the sound of them finding themselves.
There are still flashes of their signature sound, Take On Me Too, shimmers and chimes with their usual synth-pop sonic charisma and United States of Mind is a flurry of buoyant beats and innocent grooves. But these are balanced by songs such as Where The Sun Shines which edge closer towards modern dancefloor sounds and Let’s Love is a nu-soul-techno-pop classic in the making.
Can I Be Me wanders between rigid and robotic understatement and the wide-screen and anthemic; a balance of stripped back and largely unadorned beats against lush waves and washes of synths. And it is songs such as this that you feel that the band weren’t ready to write on the first album but which now seem to come naturally to them.
If you follow any band through the albums that they leave, these sonic records of their creative passing, then you should be able to see a clear evolution of some sort. The art of it is to not change so radically that you lose any of your existing fans and followers but still spread your wings enough to keep the music exciting and the people who play it fulfilled. If Siamese Youth didn’t have this idea in mind when they were planning the album then they have been lucky enough to hit that spot between freshness and familiarity perfectly.