Southern mob make their statement of intent

Echotape aren’t your normal band. Where some bands might bemoan their luck, the record industry, the press, the fans and just about anything else they could think of, these lads just went out and did it. For themselves, and by themselves.

Their sense of adventure has seen the band perform from Hollywood to Holyhead, Moscow to Madrid, feature in London’s Tate Gallery, have naked stage invasions in Dublin, and jam onstage with Carl Barat.

And now the album is ready too and, as you would imagine from a band who will not take no for an answer, the 11 tracks here crackle with a life, with a vibrancy that will see this band become a must see.

Effortlessly, it seems, Echotape have constructed anthems. We’d defy anyone to walk past a festival tent where “All My Friends” was being played and not go in. What’s more, we’d defy anyone to listen to the next song, the screeching “Whiskey Bar” and not come out raving about the band you’d just seen. It’s key lyric: “if I can’t have you then I don’t want anyone else” might be full of regret, then the music is not.

“Friend Like Me” almost seems like the band’s message to themselves. “We’ve come a long way to just don’t die out” offers singer Marc, who does a fine job throughout this, but there’s such a sense of fun around that it seems like a redundant re-enforcement.

These aren’t songs that intend to be confined to the toilet circuit of gigs. “Grams” for example is a kind of Brit take on Gaslight Anthem’s blue collar rock and the lilting, acoustic driven “I Got You” reveals a more sensitive side, but with it is done with such a sense of class.

And indeed, it’s the acoustic tracks that set this band apart from the pack. “I’ve Been Dreaming” with it wonderful use of backing vocals builds to a pleasing crescendo and almost says to anyone who cares to listen “yeah, we’re in this for the long haul….”

To write songs as catchy as this is a real gift “I’ll See You Soon” worms its way into your head and isn’t about to leave and there’s a 1960s style acoustic, blues-infused strum with “Little White Lies” which is as gorgeous as it is instant. It’s beauty, however, is eclipsed by the stomping and defiant “Pray” which, lets be honest, is designed only to be screamed by thousands at some future gig in a massive venue filled with people who claimed they loved Echotape since the start.

When that happens – and it surely will – there’s plenty of songs on “Wicked Way” that the will still be playing. Not least, you suspect, the widescreen “Soul” which wouldn’t be out of place on a Bruce Springsteen record.

Things end with the haunting folk stylings of the title track, and it’s a fitting conclusion to an album that reveals its diversity if you let it. You sense that with Wicked Way, Echotape are only just scratching the surface of what they will eventually achieve.

Rating 8/10

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