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Residual Echoes - First EP

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Artist: Residual Echoes

Album: First EP

Label: Elevation

Review date: Sep. 7, 2007

OK, who put the Benzedrine in Residual Echoes’ Ovaltine? Time was when bandleader Adam Payne and crew seemed never to have met a song they didn’t want to stretch out, flail around in an echo canyon, then wrap around a couple California palm trees just high enough for the swallows to become entangled in its cloth. But not on First EP, which is their fourth and shortest record.

On its first two songs, the echo unit is intact, but the tempo’s accelerated to the point where young dudes will want to punch the air, hoist their imaginary guitars over their shoulders, and do scissor kicks ’til their knee braces fall around their ankles. Even the guitar freak-outs adhere to loud, fast rules.

To further confound things, the third song, “Wipe It Up,” is a Blake Babies cover. It’s hoarsely shouted rather than chirpily yelped, but otherwise presented without a shred of irony or disrespect. The fourth, “Fresh Eyes,” picks an earlier point on the memory lane timeline, specifically the moment when it seemed possible that Hüsker Dü and the Meat Puppets might peel down the same psychedelic alley, eclipsing the double nickels on the dime.

Turns out they’ve moved to Los Angeles, so maybe Residual Echoes have been pulling out their old SST vinyl. Only “Strawberrytes” stretches out like the Residual Echoes of yore, and even that is taken at a flat-out rate that makes me wonder if they picked out a virgin teenaged track star for a drummer.

I’m not sure if there’s much behind the catchy melodies, fast beats, and superballing wah-wah licks, but does there really need to be? After all, it’s only a “First EP.”

By Bill Meyer

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