Echoboy Giraffe

The description "psychedelic electronic pop" should be worrying, and indeed it was until actually listening to Echoboy's latest long-player, Giraffe. Unlike most similarly-themed post-millennial hybrids (on a trivial side-note, Echo alter-ego Richard Warren's previous band was called the Hybrids), Echoboy has managed to be inspired by '80s synth-pop without actually recreating the analog sound of yesteryear. Maybe it's the influence of U2 producer Flood, who also helped out Depeche Mode, New Order, Nitzer Ebb and Erasure, but Warren's increased the vocal content from his more experimental prior albums - even offering the occasional glimpse of Sparklehorse-style delicacy as well as more primal screaming. Throughout, Echoboy uses the electronics to add texture and intrigue to what would have already been darkly lush indie pop compositions. Maybe that's why Noel Gallagher apparently "pursued" Warren in hopes of getting him to join Oasis, and why everyone from Doves to Add N to (X) have taken his live band (which includes members of Spiritualized) on tour. From the synth-riff of radio-friendly first single "Automatic Eyes" to the frenetic party bells of "Lately Lonely" and the guitar-boosted crunchy beats of epic "Wasted Spaces," Warren remembers that an album is only as good as its songs, not its gimmicks. (Mute)