Lafcadio — Sham Duvet
(Joyful Noise JNR-10, 2006, CD)
Gogglesphere — Babies in Hell: A Depiction of Deranged Youth
(Joyful Noise JNR-4, 2004, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2006-05-01
One might ask why these two discs are being addressed in the same review; it’s because both Gogglesphere and Lafcadio are essentially the same band – or that is to say they have the same five members. Babies in Hell is subtitled A Depiction of Deranged Youth, a concept album of extremely twisted and grotesque imagery and a musical style to match: abrasive and extreme technical thrash-metal full of distortion at every level, with that singer who at one moment sounds like somebody’s trying to strangle him, and the next minute sounds like he’s screaming in pain with a bottle cap stuck up his ass sideways. Not an easy listen, any way you shred it. Fortunately a couple songs turn down the distortion some, slow down the pace, and stop screaming so the lyrics are somewhat understandable. But it’s not long until it slides right back into concussion-driven suicidal mania at the threshold of pain and beyond. Ahem. Some will really dig this, I’m sure.
Regrouped as Lafcadio, some elements of the old sound are still present here, but it does seem like a fresh start with a concerted effort to make a more meaningful and interesting musical statement within the boundaries of extreme technical metal. Some screaming, to be sure, but plenty of decent harmonies too, and more importantly one can actually hear what’s being played and sung without the ever-present cloud of distortion engulfing everything. Each piece is distinctly different in some way from all others, and the overall approach is a sort-of punk take on the more brutal elements of contemporary King Crimson mixed with a more adventurous variation of the math rock sound. Sham Duvet is the messianic lead figure in a concept exploring the contradictions and similarities between religious epiphany and schizophrenic hallucination; and this time the lyrics are understandable – but just in case they are all printed in the booklet. In all, this is a far more satisfying disc; here’s to the new start.
Related artist(s): Lafcadio / Gogglesphere
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From the press release:
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water takes from Echo Us' past and spins it into a whole new direction, one closer to traditional acoustic Celtic music than ever before.
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water was composed and recorded during the first few months of 2017. Although Celtic influenced and comprised of a number of re-workings of Irish folk tunes and Breton aires, the album is still in large part new and original Echo Us music that fits right in the Echo Us ‘canon’. “Wake” is a natural progression from “A Priori Memoriae”, which was released to critical acclaim in Europe in 2014.
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is Echo Us’ ‘Celtic’ album that was planned for a long time but never executed because of the work on the trilogy that came before it. The album title is a typical ‘Echo Us’ play on words which one can find their own meaning.
“It is also both evocative of the Oregon rain, which I am told is not too unlike the rain in Ireland.”(Matthews)
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is also a comment on conception- which was unintentional when the lyric was written. Matthews surprised himself a few months after writing it, realizing that the song was actually about the nitty gritty, biological workings of what happens when a child is conceived. The folk song it derives from musically describes a courting ritual, one that even today we can all relate to in our own way.
“Come With Me Over the Mountain" in acapella was the musical inspiration for the song, and came into my consciousness after the lyrics were written a few months prior. “ (Matthews)
As with all Echo Us recordings, a number of seeming coincidences resulted in connections being drawn where prior there were none. Another experience of similar capacity was found in oboe samples from A Priori Memoriae that echoed the traditional “May Morning Dew’, also reworked for guitar on the new album.