It’s so rare to come across an excellent band that has both a male and female vocal presence. There are a few in this little explosion of indie rock bands we’ve seen over the last five years – Wild Child, and the now (tragically) defunct Civil Wars, to name a couple. The Echo Friendly offer a heartbreaking cup of warm cocoa in the form of their first album, Love Panic, which has not received nearly the amount of attention it deserves.
The first song I heard from The Echo Friendly was Same Mistakes in October 2012, almost a year after it became available on their Same Mistakes Single release. It has since become what is arguably their most popular song from Love Panic, which was released in May of 2014.
I never did grow up
Feels like I never will
My friends are all adults
I’m still a teenage girl
I haven’t changed a bit
I’m still not over it
I make the same mistakes
I make the same mistakes
The initial resemblance to the garage bands of the 1990s translates into a cozy layer of comfort on top of songs about indescribably complicated relationships and the unpredictable ebb and flow of love.
The gal of the group, Shannon Esper, has an awesome voice that reminds me of some of the great female solo artists of the 90s: Jenny Lewis, Jennifer Charles and Hope Sandoval. The hollow, banging drums and distorted guitar plops them nicely into the present, alongside the rest of the indie rock revolution that’s taking place. Esper also has some acting chops, and an IMDb profile to back it up.
Jake Rabinbach, a singer and guitar player raised on Howlin’ Wolf & Muddy Waters, has a genuine sound that makes the confessionary lyrics come across as extra honest, and admittedly extra relatable. Rabinbach had previously been in a R&B band, Jump Back Jake, before teaming with Esper, best friend and ex-lover, to form The Echo Friendly.
Fuck It and Whatever holds a special place in my heart because it represents feelings that we all have inside of us when we are absolutely confused and heartbroken, which is kind of this band’s specialty.
Love Panic is said to detail the feelings of love and loss that Esper and Rabinbach experienced while toiling over one another during their relationship. This would make sense, as each song seems to convey a story of a romance that died without the consent of either partner. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, it just doesn’t work. And in times of relevance, that is an exceptionally difficult fact to swallow.
I know we can’t live forever
So we should stick together
And I know that sounds heavy
But fuck it and whatever
This is definitely music you can stomp around to, let your hair down and jump around to. Each song on the ten song album is catchy in its own way, but their cheerful drone is present through the entire song. Every sound is presented in its sleepiest version, which is yet another layer of cozy that envelopes this lovesick band.
If you like:
- The Civil Wars
- Rilo Kiley
- Sitting on balconies at night drinking by yourself wondering why anything matters
- Matt & Kim after a muscle relaxer
- Saying you’re single but are definitely not done sleeping with your ex
- 90s chick rock
Where to find The Echo Friendly
The Echo Friendly on…