Talking Dreams

Written by: TL on 02/12/2013 12:53:38

Whilst presently unbeknownst to most people around my parts, Californian teenage brother-sister quartet Echosmith seems to be picking up speed in their part of the world, signing to Warner Bros within their first three years of existance and getting mentioned in various beneficial corners of the internet. One such corner would be where I stumbled over them, initially just liking their name - which now leads me to feel like I'm being played by major label tactics, as I'm reading that the band only changed to the Echosmith name immediately upon signing with Warner. Still, now that I've already been listening to their debut album "Talking Dreams", why not give it a review anyway?

Aging between fourteen and nineteen at the time of "Talking Dreams"' release, Echosmith is comprised of three brothers: Graham Sierota on drums, Noah on bass and Jamie on guitar, and their sister Sydney on lead vocals and occasionally also guitar and keys. Together they play an airy pop/rock whose main distinction is a laid back vibe that places it neither in the rows of carelessly distanced indie bands nor in the camp of overly forthcoming pop acts, rather somewhere halfway in between. Bands like Walk The Moon and Belle Histoire come to mind as helpful comparisons, as does Denmark's own Alphabeat, although Echosmith are considerably less hysterically sugary.

On "Talking Dreams", the songs that strike me the most are "Cool Kids", "Tell Her You Love Her" and opener and single "Come Together". The latter is an obvious choice for a single, benefitting from perhaps the most dynamic approach of the record altogether; It opens with chiming keys and drops to an ear-catchingly eerie pre-chorus before soaring to an up-beat chorus in which Jamie and Noah lift the refrain with their backing vocals. Meanwhile, "Cool Kids" strikes a curious contrast sounding very chilled and cool, yet expressing some confusion over not really feeling like one of those "Cool Kids". Finally "Tell Her You Love Her" is the kind of song that actually has a fast beat, yet is so subdued it feels like a tender ballad in which Sydney gives you a simple reminder to always say it back to your girl when she tells you she loves you.

Songs like these are instantly likeable, and truth be told, the same can be said for "Talking Dreams" overall. In honest though, when I saw the band's name and artwork (and before I had read about their age) I was hoping to find a more eclectic and ambitious approach to the overlap between pop and rock, and frankly "Talking Dreams" has quickly revealed to be anything but. The variations in both mood and tone of instrumentation across the album are minimal, and the songs seem completely comfortable with moving ahead as predictably as possible, giving you an easily digestable listen which, outside of the shamelessly repeated choruses, doesn't offer much else in terms of flourishes or curiosities to spark your interest.

In summary then, "Talking Dreams" is probably exactly the type of record I should have expected from a young, debuting band signed instantly to a big label: Its songs are generally catchy enough for you to probably connect with a few, but overall it takes so few chances that you can quickly lose interest in telling all of the tracks apart. Effectively this one is pleasant and occasionally catchy, yet for the most part also a little unexciting. Yet while I'm sure the band will already be sick to death of seeing their age mentioned in probably every piece of press they get, one curious fact is that while listening to the album I never once thought about them being young. Upon reading about it however I sort of have to wonder if it isn't exactly a little more experiece that's needed to make up for the band's present shortcomings and to really make use of both their obvious musical chops and their prominent label deal.

Download: Come Together, Cool Kids, Tell Her You Love Her
For The Fans Of: Walk The Moon, Belle Histoire, Alphabeat

Release Date 08.10.2013
Warner Bros

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