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Album Review

Gaining a different bassist and having longtime studio hound B.J. Cole in on some guest slide guitar didn't appreciably alter the Echobelly approach much — the post-glam/punk feeling of the poppy music still predominates and Madan still claims the sharp and sly frontwoman role with fire. If nothing on On reaches the total heights of "I Can't Imagine the World Without Me," it still possesses a few fine moments of note, otherwise generally killing time in its own fashion well enough. Johansson's guitar playing and Madan's singing and lyrics still inevitably call the Smiths shades to the forefront, no matter what. It's something they seem comfortable with at this point, though, and the rest of the band jointly adds a touch more fuzz and sludge in contrast, which makes a nice combination. Touches like the singsong sass on "Go Away," which suits the sentiment of the lyrics to a T, while Johansson usually comes up with one killer riff or part per song that elevates what would be okay tunes just that little bit higher. Cole's own contributions, like the great electric slide wail on "Something Hot in a Cold Country," don't hurt either. Sean Slade and Paul Kolderie's production remains up to the general level of that noted duo's other work: loud, cutting, and sounding great. "King of the Kerb," an album standout and a fine single from the band, benefits not merely from the strange, nagging lead guitar melody from Johansson but said production, with a rich sound in the instrumental lead-in and a well-mixed chorus. Madan's wittiest moment probably comes with "Pantyhose and Roses," a cutting portrayal of sexual objectification and fantasy, while her most heartfelt is the passionate "Nobody Like You," a fun and desire-filled celebration of a loved one.

Customer Reviews

Nearly 20 years on and still amazing

I have so many happy memories of discovering this exciting band when i was just a wee teenager. Sonya's sensational vocals and the amazing guitar melodies make this a truly memorable record that i will always treasure.

Feels so long ago now

Was a bad year for me in 95 leading up to an attempt on my own life, this album brings those memories back but in pure nostalgia

Sounds like home

My mum is a huge Echobelly and Catatonia fan so i've been listening to their albums all my life really. To me King of the Kerb, no matter where it is played, will always make me feel at home

Biography

Formed: 1992 in London, England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s

Led by vocalist Sonya Aurora Madan, Echobelly fused the ironic, self-absorbed viewpoint of the Smiths with stylish Blondie posturing and a solid guitar crunch. Defiantly politically correct, the group cultivated a fair amount of praise within the British press at the beginning of their career, but as the Brit-pop craze of the mid-'90s wore on, the group was slowly eclipsed by such contemporaries as Elastica...
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On, Echobelly
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