Dead Leaf Echo: TRUTH

Mon Nov 15 2010

If nothing else, the existence of this record indicates that the time is right for a Catherine Wheel reunion, which would be awesome, and the kids from Dead Leaf Echo would be first in line for tickets I suspect.  Even though Truth is the group’s third release, it still sounds like the gothic scratchings of the early shoegaze pioneers.  It’s an almost shameless tribute to the CW sound, right down to LG’s vocals (although without any heavy guitar), and as such, it could be a grating listen, but there are some darn good songs here.

These tunes are ensconced in an endearingly pathetic minimalism that sends you off romantically depressed, capturing the moody synth vibe of the late 80s but enhanced with a modern dreampop listlessness.  "Dance In The Light" and "Act Of Truth" tiptoe the tightrope between lush and barely there, LG's singing so tender it's almost pitiful, but that's the point.  It's not cloying--just a well-worn stylistic device that DLE utilizes better than most.

The only appearance of a guitar part with actual bite is "Grey Town", and it's a highlight of the album.  It's pure pop with a slight rough edge, but still sad rather than bitter, and catchy as hell.  The next two tracks yield diminishing returns from the same formula, but the group tacks on a promising nugget at the end, a remix of "Act Of Truth" that cops a spare electronic beat, effectively casting the track in a dim trip-hop light.  It's not exactly a revelation, but it's a glimpse of a potentially fruitful deviation from an occasionally homogenous beauty.
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