Echoes And Signals is post-rock/progressive collective, formed in 2012 in Russia. They released their debut EP, Comma, that same year. After releasing the concept album Ouroboros in 2013, they have returned in 2014 with their third album named V. Again, this is a concept album, meaning it’s more than a list of consecutive tracks.
The band released the album stating that “This album is dedicated to the five stages of acceptance: denial, anger, guilt, depression and realization”. According to the band, this album is very personal for them. But at the same time they hope that it helps us listeners as well when going through darker moments in our lives.
RELEASE DATE: 24 November 2014 LABEL: Self-released
I kept this information in mind when reviewing this album. It is hard for a band to portray deep emotions -such as those surfacing in the process of acceptance- in music that contains hardly any lyrics. But somehow, Echoes And Signals manages to do so. Of course, the music portrays the group’s personal reflection on how these emotions are experienced and how they are dealt with. However, with the right mindset, this could translate to you as a listener as well.
Every new ‘stage’ is announced by a relatively short track, aptly titled ‘I’ through ‘V’. These intros are a good choice, as these really manage to prepare you for the mood of the next song. For instance Dead End should represent anger, and is very well introduced by II with a repetitive doomish and haunting sound. As you can expect, Dead End itself has an aggressive, punching sound with pounding drums and fast guitar riffs.
The next one, Caught By The Water, is a very different track. Again, it transitions well from the previous track through the intro. I sense a lot of nervousness when listening, and the entire track feels like a struggle, a doubt, regret. I mean that in all things positive, by the way. Caught By The Water is the only track that features lyrics but I’m not much of a fan of that. Although the desperate lyrics and style of singing fits the music and tune, it does not add a lot to the whole, and distracts from the great instrumentation.
Let me focus more on the music and less on the meaning for the next track, Hadal Pelagic. This is a much more progressive-sounding track than the rest, with some cool guitar transitions. Really, this band plays many styles and is rather successful in doing so. Especially keeping in mind that the group consists of only three members and a basic setup! This song in particular varies a lot. Some parts dense and fast, some parts more gentle and slow. It has its ups and downs, so to say, like a depression (okay that’s it for finding meaning, I swear).
The album ends with more uplifting songs. If I had to pick, these final songs would be my favorites of the entire track. The Waiting Room is in times very intense, but at others more forgiving. There’s this nice guitar line during the second part of the song, very soothing together with the jazzy drumbeat. Finally, When the Time Has Come to Sail Away is the most melodic track of the entire album. Like it’s trying to say as if time heals. But it still takes time to heal and it might take a while.
Overall, V achieves what I mostly look for in this type of music: to make you aware of certain emotions, and to help deal with them. Not necessarily only to cheer you up, but rather to accept.