Another Cali-alt-rock thingamajig that’s done famous things of which you’re blissfully unaware (snippets of their stuff have appeared on Jersey Shore and Real World). The synopsis is that San Diego band Echo Revolution are pretty much a next-gen Smiths, unafraid to throw in xylophone and all the modernity such “curveballs” bring (we’re so doomed). Some ingredients on their 2008 LP A Safe Place to Start, which I haven’t heard, inspired one or two critical comparisons to U2, but I imagine it was the band’s Nick Cave boisterousness that had the reviewers thinking in terms of harder stuff. In the end these guys are creampuffs of an ’80s stripe, sometimes politely crazed in the vein of Brian Eno, sometimes Versus-like (thanks to the chick singers in the slow-mid-tempo snooze-rocking title track), sometimes playing with guitar-flange as if it were a normal Freudian stage (“Open Your Eyes”). Individual fans of Wilco, The Call and Decembrists alike could feel this equally, strange but true.
B+ — Eric W. Saeger