The artists formerly known as Brightside, Echo Arcadia have been slaving away in a hot studio and have now emerged with a shiny new EP – Broken Chapters – to promote.
This free gig at The Wee Red Bar is as much a thank you to the band’s friends and fans as it is a promotion – though after their set of sparkling, harmonic and intelligent indie pop, more than a few people willingly part with the readies to get their mitts on their own copy of the CD.
Bass-player Paul Murphy provides a hard-working common thread throughout the evening, playing the four-string in both supporting covers bands – Ivory and U-Know-Hoo – before strapping on his instrument for a third time with Echo Arcadia.
The band blend C86-style indie with a 4AD-ish dreaminess, all topped off with a smattering of Celtic rock which echoes the likes of Deacon Blue. Siobhan and Leigh’s harmonies therefore swirl around their jangling guitars and melodies, with Majied’s keys providing some colouring on top of Paul and Dan’s tight pop / funk rhythms. This adds up to a hard-to-resist whole, the vocal harmonies in particular producing some spine-shivering moments.
The short set starts with a couple of poppy Brightside era numbers, before moving into the roomier melodies of the EP itself. The band are tight, gleaming with the kind of shine which shows they’ve been polishing these songs for quite some time. ‘Lucinda’ is a highlight here, dripping with Leigh and Siobhan’s harmonies as the music builds up like layers on an indie pop gateau.
Echo Arcadia close with ‘The Joker’, a song which Leigh fears will ‘slay’ his voice. He manages to keep his tonsils alive til the end however, and the song – with its addictively melodic chorus – is a winner; the kind that has people humming the tune as they file out of The Wee Red Bar, copies of Broken Chapters held tightly in their hands.
Intelligent and happy; tuneful and self-effacingly charming: there’s a lot to like about Echo Arcadia live and you’d be advised to head down for a leaf through the chapters of their Big Book Of Indie Pop the next time they play.
Broken Chapters by Echo Arcadia is available to buy on iTunes.