Echoes

NOISE

Review Date: June 2016
Reviewer: Paul Jack
Source: Rock Hard Reviews
(www.rockhardreviews.com)

NOISE - Echoes album cover

April 2016 saw the release of Echoes, by Icelandic band NOISE. Echoes is their fourth album, the follow-up to the Divided, which won the accolade of being in Iceland's top ten albums.

NOISE has the distinction of being the first act from Iceland to be featured on Rock Hard Reviews, and we are honoured to check out Echoes on behalf of our readers. It has to be said that, as yet, NOISE are not so well known here in the UK, compared to their homeland. But having given Echoes an in-depth listen we are positive NOISE are talented, and worthy of greater exposure.

The makeup of NOISE is as follows... Einar Vilberg on guitar and vocals, Stefan Vilberg on bass, Thorvaldur Kari on drums and Valdimar Kristjonsson on piano. Their music grows on you with repeated listens. As exemplified by the opener, Dark Days. Seeming at first to be a gentle and slow number to the lazy listener, pay attention and you will find Dark Days to be a clever composition, full of overlaid melodies and clever twists.

The songs making up Echoes are best experienced as an album, played from start to finish in a single listen. Don't go looking for a three minute rush of a single, but rather listen to the entire album - and I do mean actively listen. Allow the music to flow over you and set a chillaxed, mellow but happy vibe. And so we move on to the second track, Quiet, which sets a nice mood, evoking memories of quieter Blue Oyster Cult moments for this old reviewer.

The cleverly titled Paranoid Parasite is a gentle number with impressive piano solos from Valdimar, whereas Out Of Line kicks off with catchy stickwork from Thorvaldur. The quality and variations of pace and melody are thoroughly entertaining. And that short guitar solo, laid over piano and drums in Out Of Line is just awesome.

Sleepless is, ironically, a dreamlike number, where decent vocals blend well with acoustic guitar and piano. Sea of Hurt is up next, with its plodding, low key moodiness. Such clever strings from the Red Limo string quartet intersperse and add feeling here.

Fathead is the penultimate track, giving Stefan just enough space to showcase his bass chops. Almost bluesy at times, the bass riff holds Fathead together well, a key component to a clever musical composition. Which leads us to So Long, the aptly named final number. Soothing melodies fill out this melancholic number, almost like reminiscing over the bittersweet memories of a final goodbye. The song is simply so well put together, so well played that it is thoroughly listenable over and over.

If I were forced to sum up NOISE in a single phrase, it would be 'Talented Musicians'. Echoes maintains, throughout its entirety, such an impressive vibe that is both gentle and interesting. It takes carries the listener along on a journey, helping you to escape the outside world and lose yourself in the dreamy listening experience that is Echoes.

NOISE are a skilful band, bringing with them a sophisticated style of music which will appeal to the sophisticated, mature listener. You can find out more about them by visiting www.noiseIceland.com.

Track List

  • Dark Days
  • Quiet
  • Paranoid Parasite
  • Out Of Line
  • Sleepless
  • Sea Of Hurt
  • Fathead
  • So Long