[sic] Magazine

Dead Leaf Echo – Truth

For their latest release, Brooklyn-based trio Dead Leaf Echo enlisted the aid of John Fryer , most noted for his work with Cocteau Twins and as one of two staple members of This Mortal Coil . The result is, as you might expect, a dreamy shoegaze affair that utilises most tricks of the trade. Plenty of reverb and echo keep it quite safely in the realm of appeal to fans of the genre. It is said that it’s often hard to hear the truth, as such Dead Leaf Echo have gone to great lengths to soften the blow. Perhaps though, it’s a little too soft.

Truth is undoubtedly listening that’s easy on the ears, taking a decidely gentle and often ethereal approach to their new wave / shoegaze, with distantly sighing female vocals adding some light to the atmosphere. Unfortunately though, the main vocals have a tendency to blend in with everything else, leaving little room for them to make much of an impact.

There are a few moments where everything comes together with much greater success. Fourth track ‘Grey Town’, for example, takes an ever-so-slight turn towards rock, allowing light and shade to become a little more clearly defined to produce some much needed and more distinct emotion. The seventh and final track – an extended remix of third track ‘Act of Truth’ is also a nice inclusion, as the echoing vocals are well matched with the electro-ambient take.

What’s most frustrating is that Truth actually has more than enough substance to work with. There’s plenty of dreamy atmosphere, and there’s certainly enough emotion, but it too often lies subtly as an undercurrent. Falling just short of being as emotive as it could have been, the outcome is an album that, overall, feels neutral to its subject matter. The impression I’m left with is one of almost monotone apathy that’s a little fragile; which – soundwise – comes off as a somewhat whitewashed version of genre stalwarts the likes of Lush and Slowdive . I was particularly reminded of fellow Brooklyn-based indie band Calla , circa Collisions (2005), had they taken a slightly more dream pop approach, that is.

On the upside, Truth is also quite calm and doesn’t drain heavily on your energy; which would make it a nice album to listen to at times when style and atmosphere is appreciated over anything else. While personally I’d like to hear what would happen if Dead Leaf Echo maybe lost a little of that atmosphere in favour of a more raw, heart-felt edge, there’s probably enough here to sate fans on the lookout for all things of the light n’ spacey shoegaze variety.

~Truth is out now on 2&1 Records .~