Born in the Bay Area in 2005, San Francisco-based Echodrone are a four-piece band who delve into shoegaze, as well as elements of dream-pop and post-rock. The band lists Talk Talk and Spiritualized amongst their influences and have so far released a self-titled EP in 2007 and their first full length, The Sun Rose In A Different Place, in 2009. The original members of the band are Eugene Suh on vocals and guitar and Brandon Dudley on bass. Echodrone is rounded out by Meredith Gibbons on guitar and vocals and drummer Mark Tarlton.
Bon Voyage is Echodrone's third release, self-released by the band and produced by drummer Tarlton. Album opener "Under An Impressive Sky" pulled me in immediately, a slinky keyboard line giving way to an assault of guitar before the vocals come in and things settle down, only momentarily. It's that mix of melody and noise that has endeared me to the post-rock and shoegaze genres, and Echodrone do it with the perfect blend of aggression and loveliness here. Never underestimate the importance of a great opening track to make the listener want to explore more within the album, and they nail it with this song.
"Infinite Arms" stands in stark contrast to the rest of the material, a mostly acoustic track until the final 90 seconds when things get dreamy and atmospheric. "Cold Snap" serves as the other highlight, a relaxed song with shimmering guitars and lush vocal work from Suh and Gibbons who play off each other wonderfully. I've been listening to a lot of bands who dip their feet in these genres lately, and this is high quality material, an album I'll revisit often.
Bon Voyage was self-released by the band as a download only on June 26, 2012.