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 is released on 11th March 2013. For further information or to order the album visit Amplifier’s website here.
Watch the video for Matmos here: