Echo Bloom’s fourth studio release, Green, likely rates as the New York City based band’s best outing yet and shows a real exponential leap forward for songwriter Kyle Evans. Evans, always an ambitious songwriter, has expanded his range here without ever completely abandoning the characteristics and qualities defining the project’s previous releases. There’s definitely an alternative folk/rock vibe pervading the dozen songs on Green, but there’s also substantial atmospherics enriching the performances and evocative vocals and melodies drawing listeners deeper into the intimate experience the collection provides. Echo Bloom has grown a lot since Evans first released material under this moniker and each of the twelve songs on Green conclusively proves, if it needs further proving, that this has grown into a real band with chemistry and collective creativity to burn. It’s easily one of 2018’s best releases yet and definitely a revelatory one for this Big Apple headquartered outfit.
“Comet” begins the album on a poetic note. There’s no sense of pretentiousness infecting Echo Bloom’s performance or Kyle Evans’ writing, but there’s definitely a clear sense of the performance and composition both aspiring to something more meaningful than the typical opener. Melodic strengths on Green are plentiful and the first song illustrates that part of Echo Bloom’s presentation well. Evans and his band mates follow that up with the second song, “The Duke”, essentially an alternative rock guitar workout worthy of praise based on Kevin Salem’s guitar work alone. Salem, the album’s producer as well, is one of the potentially key underrated cogs in the success of Green. The guitar sound is biting and punctuated by strong drumming. “Grand Marquis” is largely acoustic and lo-fi with an arrangement structured to rev up and down on a consistent basis and, coupled with a nearly four and a half minute running time, has the ideal amount of space to satisfy listeners. Two of the album’s strongest tunes come with “Fire in Your Eyes” and “Love & Superglue” presenting contrasting molds of how Echo Bloom handles the most straight ahead rock tunes. The former is much more cut from that cloth than the latter, but “Love & Superglue” is one of the more lyrically astute tunes.
The mid-tempo “English Teacher” opens up with some churning, hard-charging acoustic guitar that later transitions into a relatively rousing electric arrangement. The vocal is one of the most wide open singing performances on Green and has a distinctly upbeat surge pushing it along. Green closes with the song “Unchanged” and it’s another extraordinarily atmospheric that, despite its potential to be a diffuse final curtain, finishes Green off in a remarkably conclusive way. It’s quite a story to chart the evolution of this band and how Kyle Evans’ creative vision has evolved since the band’s 2008 debut. Green shows how far his songwriting has come and his potential doesn’t seem fulfilled yet.