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Dead Leaf Echo – True. Deep. Sleeper. EP

I kept hearing praise for a current Shoegaze band called Dead Leaf Echo. So when the opportunity arose to see them play live at the 2013 SXSW Music Festival (alongside New Wave/ Jangle Pop legends The Ocean Blue), I attended. I was impressed, smitten, and swept up in their shimmering, narcotic wash. Shoegaze? Yes they are, but they are much more than that. Dead Leaf Echo master the Shoegaze genre, without being confined to its parameters. The band formed in 2008, and have been coined ‘Nouveau Wave’, incorporating elements of Ambient, Baroque, Dreampop, Shoegaze, New Wave, and Goth’. They are their own; ever-evolving, shifting, and growing. They draw upon a rich and varied vocabulary of musical styles with which to be able to express the inexpressible. This is illustrated through their back catalogue and their newest EP, True. Deep. Sleeper.

Dead Leaf Echo’s True. Deep. Sleeper. is essential listening for lovers of Shoegaze, Ambient, and Early 4AD, and is sure to captivate new and old fans alike with its versatility, richness of tone, production, and flow. The EP consists of 4, gorgeously wrapped in reverb songs, the first one being the Title Track, ‘True.Deep.Sleeper.’ This first song is a rushing, thickly textured, slightly psychedelic, shoegaze number with cool, lush vocals. It’s swelling, driving, and vital, reminding me slightly of The Wedding Present or even Ride. Second on the album is my personal favorite, and the one with the most hook, ‘So Wrong’. It is deliciously constructed with ambient keys, dissonant and churning Post Punk guitar, and layers of velvety vocals. It’s at once smooth, alluring, and wistful.

The texture thins out for ‘Blind Island’, a minimal, ethereal, experimental song that nods kindly in the direction of early 4AD/This Mortal Coil, and even has a tinge of Projekt Records/Love lies Crushing. ‘Blind Island’ is eerily stunning with its sultry, breathy, friendly ghost communicating from another realm vocals, that swirl and weave through a perfectly ambient backdrop. It is of very little surprise then, that DLE caught the attention of 4AD producer John Fryer(Cocteau Twins, This Mortal Coil), who produced their first LP Thought and Language.

The EP finishes off nicely with ‘Heaven.Sent’. The rhythm section takes you sweetly into Trip-hop territory, as the ambient layers build, and bend, and wave. The ethereal vocals make a return visit with playful, overlapping rounds that are hypnotically euphoric.

Dead Leaf Echo manage to hold my interest with this latest EP; a blissful mix of their sun-kissed signature sound, all the while skirting on the more experimental. Definitely not one to be missed.

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DLE at Big Cartel