Amplifier – Echo Street
Echo Street is the long-awaited latest offering from Manchester’s cosmic four-piece, Amplifier. Following the acclaimed 2011 independent release of The Octopus, the prog-rock group are back with more mind altering tunes.
Matmos is a somewhat sombre opening track: Sel Balamir’s vocals give the song a distinctly melancholy vibe. The Wheel could well soundtrack a War of the Worlds-style sci-fi horror, with its Twilight Zone baseline and distorted guitars. Amplifier are clearly living up to their astrological reputation with this fourth album.
Where the River Goes is undoubtedly the stand-out track on Echo Street. It exudes true 70s progressive rock aesthetics: eerie, monotonal backing vocals, slowly building guitars – the band even throw in a psychedelic interlude of crescendoing guitars for good measure. Continuing with this throw-back to 70s style, Paris is the Spring is a distinctively Pink Floyd-esque track. Balamir once again riffs on stars and space, but his mournful vocals give the song a darkly sinister edge.
Title track Echo Street and Extra Vehicular are somewhat dull, however, even these are worth a listen for their intricate conception and execution.
At just eight tracks long, Echo Street is short and sweet, but the band convey such a powerful sense of self in these few outstanding songs that it doesn’t feel like a loss. While there are a couple of dull numbers, the album is a masterpiece mix of a sound seldom heard in today’s industry. Balamir’s obsession with the cosmic gives Echo Street an eerie wistfulness that just couldn’t be captured by another more chart-friendly band. Well worth a listen, even if only to remember a bygone era of incredible music.
Echo Street was released on 11th March 2013, for further information visit here.
Watch the video for Matmos here: