Paper Bag Records
Art d’Ecco reminds us that good music can be just as much about fun and passion as it is about pushing boundaries. This romp shakes up classic rock sounds rather than relying on them, to make a melange that is utterly unique. While it lacks a lot of single power, there’s enough memorable moments on here to have you coming back.
There’s a great immediacy to the riffing and off-kilter synth tones of “Never Tell” that make the album feel as vicious as it is unusual. In this way the Art d’Ecco plays a fine tightrope walk of hooking you in with welcoming sounds, only to shake things up in a moment. “Joy” runs itself on a similar grind, where all these retro elements are played with, while something like its pointed percussion is really driven up in the mix. Just as it feels like its looping a little too much, the bridge takes things in a totally new direction and some of the angular riffs add a whole new layer of fun to the sound.
String accompaniment has a lovely slinking to biting shift on “Mary” to match much of the bipolar nature to the writing Art d’Ecco brings to the track. With this constant tension and a mystical sense of performance and ambiance to the track, you’ll feel like the track is constantly veering on the edge of chaos. A strangely disco beat runs “Nobody’s Home” and lets all the sparkling hooks feel just as startling as they are fitting. Art d’Ecco really plays with this dance energy playfully here in a way that feels endearingly organic and while intensely thought out.
All the focus on drums lets “Who is it Now?” feel aggressive from the outset, and only made more so by how menacing its synth line is. This creates a sense of paranoia in the song’s already cinematic scope to let Art d’Ecco feel like more of an actor than just a musician. “Dark Days (Revisited)” grinds out more than so many tracks on the record, and plays just as much in the forefront as the shadowy echoes in the track’s background. As all of this energy comes to a head, the track takes off with a satisfying kick, that is well earned. It’s this self-awareness and brilliant sense of pop and tone that make even interludes like “Trespasser” memorable thanks to the love that was put into them.
As the old-school pop core of “Lady Next Door” hits you with a romantic swirl of guitars and keyboard lines there’s a true darkness underneath everything. Art d’Ecco brings out a new and mysterious context to them, especially with the wondrous little synth touches that make this as much an homage as it is a personal story. While you can certainly see the 90s rock lines clearly on “Last In Line” there’s such a loud energy and warping of this writing to hypnotize you nonetheless. “The Hunted” itself even feels like a T. Rex song that’s travelled to modern times through tones of The Smiths and The Cure, to feel spooky and epic all at the same time, but beautiful and fun nonetheless.
Words by Owen Maxwell