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People Are Expensive

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Album Review

After the weary Lustra, Echobelly found themselves on the receiving end of negative press, corrupt accountants, and the frustrations of starting out on their own independent record label. But all is well in the unwell for the band's fourth album, with Sonya Aurora Madan sounding as progressively paranoid as ever — in "Ondine," she sings "But this is the plastic age/The quiet rage is damned and civilised"; in "Digit," "There's no disease, the human race is digital/Pacified by fluoride, genetically modified" — and the undercooked production catching and redirecting her stark rhymes without undermining their meaning. In fact, the open-aired, twilight hum that co-producer Ben Hillier creates goes some way to expand what was once Echobelly's unobstructed angst. "Kali Yuga" is exclamatory yet by no means overbearing. There's a relaxed hope in normally melancholic lines like "I'm dying, give me symphonies," with sketched out sonics recalling those summertime nights of pensive stargazing when a cold soda and the right tune could make you believe that no matter how tempting or attractive a sense of futility may be, it's lazy and destructive, and probably a religion for poets lacking imagination. In a sense, Echobelly are more bleak than ever before but with considerable more confidence. They've managed to ignore their ill fortune and suffer through the hecklers, and have — in the best possible way — given listeners a 54-minute soundtrack for the paper bag scene in American Beauty.

Customer Reviews

A darker, more paranoid Echobelly

I always thought this band rocked more than any other Britpop band of the 90's. Their songs were intense, thoughtful and catchy. Unfortunately, they only received a mere fraction of the attention that bands like Blur and Oasis basked in. This record, their fourth overall and first for their own label, is more stripped down and definitely darker than their previous, sparklier records. I don't know if Echobelly will ever put out another record, but it's great that this one did get out and that it's available for fans and music lovers stateside to enjoy. Long live Echobelly.


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 and Sleeper. Nevertheless, Echobelly earned a dedicated cult following in the U.S. and U.K.,...
Full Bio
People Are Expensive, Echobelly
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