Echoglass is one of those bands who are able to cover a lot of musical ground. Some bands do this because they are unfocused regarding what they want to be, they lack identity or are perhaps a bit unsure of where they fit in. Echoglass do it because they are able to fit in everywhere and merely use genres as building blocks from which to fashion their ever-shifting sound. The common denominator of their music in general is not a sound or a style, a genre or a specific sonic fingerprint, the common denominator is more in the feeling and the narration, in the emotive scenes and scenarios that they paint, in stories played out as small, kitchen sink dramas. Very British, very small town, very relatable.
And having waxed lyrical about how they are not like other bands, Lonely reminds me of one of my favourite artists, Colin Vearncombe, another northern writer of songs which capture the same sense of love, loss and longing that this latest offering does. And you can take that line back further too and use the Black front man as a stepping stone from which to make comparisons to early Scott Walker albums, though Echoglass prove to be a much less temperamental and more down to earth option…though no less grand and melancholic when they choose to be. And Lonely is that moment.
It is the vocals that get you first, a deep, soothing and soft sound that for all its sadness and reflection seems to wrap around the listener like a comfort blanket. Behind it the song builds in power, revelling in dynamic rise and fall and filled with gorgeous peripheral sounds – the muted trumpet, the distant harmony vocals, the gently pulsing bass all hung on solid yet spacious beats.
Balladic in nature it may be but sonically it is a very clever song, not that ballads can’t be clever, its just that generally they aren’t! Not only does it have depth musically, lyrically it is a truly heartfelt narrative about the sad realities of relationships, of trying to cling on to the past, of being unable to move on. I defy anyone to listen to this and not be moved by it, even if you haven’t quite been in such a situation as the one laid out here, you have thought about the fact that you might end up there, you have imagined such emotions and how you would deal with them. It’s the flip side of love, the dark underbelly of relationships.
Echoglass has always had such deep and emotive strands running through their music but Lonely takes that one aspect and dwells deep and long on the subject. It is a symphony plucked on heartstrings, a song forged of sorrow and memory, a ballad driven by the beat of a breaking heart. If the band had only ever written this one song, for me at least, their place in the annals of music would be secured.
“Love happens and then it ends”