Echoboy - Giraffe

Echoboy have consistently pushed the barriers of their live shows over the past 3 years to the point where they simply headed out on the road unrehearsed with the drum kit wired up to the guitar effects pedal and jammed for half an hour while setting off the pedals at seemingly random points. The world was their oyster and before they stepped on stage you literally didn't know whether you were going to walk out with your ear drums still in tact or simply be lying horizontal at the chilled out ambient bliss floating from the stage. It was nigh on impossible for the recorded versions to match up to this level of experimentation and "Volume 1" and "Volume 2" respectively were the sound of Richard Warren trying to find himself, but never quite finding what he was looking for. "Giraffe" on the other hand is an album which goes back to his love of classic songwriting (which he displayed with the Hybirds at the tail end of Britpop) while still maintaining that vision to push the boundaries of pop.

The albums opener "Automatic Eyes" is pure New Order and in truth it's the only track on the album which you can condense to a single influence. The great thing about Echoboy is Warren's ability to take seemingly disparate influences and fuse them together as if it's the most natural thing in the world. He acknowledges the whole bootleg scene but rather than mixing two existing songs together ala Sugababes or Liberty X, Warren actually writes songs to encompass limitless influences and as a result songs like "Comfort Of The Hum" mixes the sound of Nazi Goose-stepping with Michael Jackon's "Billie Jean" bass line and adds the middle 8 from Radioheads "Paranoid Android" to confuse us even further. "Summer Rhythm" on the other hand sound like a lo-fi version of Justin Timberlake's "Cry Me A River" complete with Commodore 64 bleeps throughout until a retro guitar solo which could come straight out of the Clapton book of songwriting. "Lately Lonely" is so camp it could be a lost Village People track, while "Wasted Spaces" ups the amount Y chromosomes in a baggy work-out.

On "Giraffe", Echoboy have finally matched on record what they've achieved previously in the live shows. The sad thing is that with pretty popstars the order of the day for the kids and the indie scene equally demanding in it's desire for pretty boys with skinny tie's and suits will this album truly capture the hearts of the nation. As Warren himself admits "All you can do is sit and wait for the money to accumulate. But it's never going to happen to me because I don't look good on TV" on the appropriately titled "Good On T.V.". It would be a sad indictment of our times if an album such as this got lost on the racks because Richard Warren's face didn't fit the mainstream agenda of what makes a great pop star. All we can say is - f**k convention and buy this album now!!!

Alex McCann

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