This duo have been digging away at this project for a few years now, but they seem to have evolved from their initial easy-to-ignore, post punk appearance and earned themselves some fresh attention with the release of their single, ‘While You Are Sleeping‘, earlier this year.
Unfortunately, when we looked into their recent history it seems that Io Echo have inadvertently sent out some mixed messages, following a few questionable support slots that fought against their initial hipster image. Can you really be considered popular among the counter-culture, fashion crowd with support slots for the likes of OK GO and Florence & The Machine in the US, and more recently propping up The Drums for a handful of UK shows? We don’t particularly care for those acts either way, but when you add in the fact that one of their tunes has also already been used to soundtrack the new Palm Pre Sprint mobile phone advert and you’ll hear the snotty Hoxton kids already proclaiming an anti-populist “Io who?”.
However, things soon balance up, as tales of them playing at a Nine Inch Nails gig suggest a taste more befitting the matured end of their sound, so we put more energy into the investigation and uncovered some interesting facts alongside some rather ace music.
The duo are made up of Californian singer, Ioanna Gika, and the bassist from The Big Pink, Leopold Ross. They’re apparently now based in the UK and doing live shows throughout the remainder of November, so we’ve once again seen the blog network’s radars twitching.
Tracks such as the exceptional ‘Monsters‘ involve plenty of cavernous, distorted guitars, bringing in obvious comparisons with The Big Pink and Nine Inch Nails, with their noisy, industrial crunch. However, it’s with Ioanna’s crystal vocals that the track is gifted a halcyon finish and this makes all the difference. Without her voice the fog would choke the tune and so it’s a joy to see they’ve continued this theme throughout most of their newer songs, particularly with ‘Shanghai‘, which adds a stunning, operatic vocal climax to an otherwise melody-less tune.
Away from their basic earlier work we see a new maturity, where it’s all about aesthetics and atmosphere, with tracks that tower (‘Outsiders‘), some that occasionally race (‘When The Lilies Die‘), but all of which mix an interesting blend of diamonds and rust, reminiscent of Nico as she pierced the occasional Velvet Underground tune. The thing to watch with Io Echo is whether they actually embrace the attention their songs clearly deserve, or whether they’re happy to stay a little while in the hipster’s Factory. (MB)
IO ECHO – MONSTERS
IO ECHO – WHEN LILIES DIE
IO ECHO – PAPER TIGERS