Boogie Board rock

The Echo Echo Echoes make surf rock of a different kind

By Rev. Adam McKinney on January 8, 2014

If you'll allow me a brief aside, I'd like to have the opportunity to get this observation out of my brain. "Laguna," the opening track off an EP of demos by the Echo Echo Echoes, reminds me so viscerally of Some Loud Thunder - the effectively career-ruining sophomore slump from Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, but an album I actually quite like.

Booming drums kick into the red, jumping out from your headphones and tickling your inner ear. Voices disappear into layers of distorted reverb, while bouncy guitars and keyboards speed along, evoking the catchiest drowning you're likely to ever experience. It's like that moment from Boogie Nights where that beautiful woman dives into the pool and the camera follows her, making War's "Spill the Wine" go all cloudy.

So, there's my review of the Echo Echo Echoes. They sound like sinking to the bottom of a '70s pool while the party rages on above the water.

No, that's silly. Let me start over.

The Echo Echo Echoes are a Seattle band, far from the sunny beaches that they love to evoke. Though they call themselves a surf-pop band, and they have a song nostalgically titled "Surfer Girl," they are very quick to joke that wearing wetsuits and catching waves is something very far from their own experiences.

"I write most of my songs after summer vacations," says Echo Echo Echoes drummer and vocalist Collin Snider. "I remember, very well, all of my experiences of going to the beach, and the little experiences within those, like meeting your first real summer crush. My songs are really lighthearted memories about the beach. I've never surfed once in my entire life. I mean, I've boogie boarded (Laughs)."

What began as an outlet for Snider eventually ballooned into a trio, with Paul Kowalczyk on bass and Devin Moore on guitar and ukelele.

"It was originally a solo project that I started in 2011," says Snider. "I was recently in a band, and it didn't really work out. I just wanted to make the music that I wanted to write. ... I started messing around with recording software, and I put all of my stuff on BandCamp under the Echo Echo Echoes, kind of as a joke. When I came home, after going to Europe for a few months, there were a lot of people asking when the band was gonna play a show. So, from there, I started a band. ... I'm trained at drums, but not at the bass or the guitar or the synth. Once I got better, trained musicians to interpret my songs, I feel like they turned out better."

To be honest, coming up with new things to say about a surf-rock band is a little difficult. Mostly, it comes down to talking about reverb and the way that the ocean affects the tone of the guitar, and blah blah blah. Thankfully, while the Echo Echo Echoes do their best to evoke the beach, what they really do is create something influenced by surf music, but their actual product is blissfully different.

While their music is consistently drenched in reverb, the Echo Echo Echoes mostly steer clear from the marijuana-aided vibe of the affected guitar of surf rock. Instead, the way in which they approach the sensation of wiling away a summer on the beach is through listless vocals and drifting riffs, evoking some twilight evening surrounding a bonfire, bugs swarming around, following a sun-burnt day. Not all summer songs are intended to provoke action; some are meant to bar the onslaught of sun, and to welcome the much-needed breeze. We're far from that time, at this point, but the Echo Echo Echoes are there to usher us in.

ECHO ECHO ECHOES, w/ Retrospector, Battersea, 9 p.m., Friday, Jan. 10, The New Frontier Lounge, 301 E. 25th St., Tacoma, $5, 253.572.4020