Review Summary: "I'm in love, love"
When you discover a relatively unknown band and watch them skyrocket into mainstream popularity, it’s as if you're watching your very own child taking his or her first steps. That may be an outlandish statement, but that’s the kind of overwhelming satisfaction I feel when I get updates on Echosmith’s progress. While I’ve never particularly loved the band, it’s still nice to feel like part of a cool group or community, and that’s the sort of resounding positivity that Echosmith’s fanbase radiates. Their debut album entitled Talking Dreams
is harmless generic pop fun, but it was my harmless generic pop fun. It doesn’t necessarily try to be deep and it doesn’t have to be, but man oh man there some embarrassing teenage diary lyrical material on this album. Talking Dreams
is an enjoyable enough debut with some pleasant vocal harmonies and catchy guitar hooks, but the cliched lyrics can not be overlooked.
In general the album is filled with upbeat guitar and baselines, but at the same time there’s a little bit of melancholy in Echosmith’s sound, which is undoubtedly the Joy Division influence shaping this young band’s sound. Echosmith is made up of family members: Sydney Sierota (Vocals), Jamie Sierota (Guitar), Noah Sierota (Bass), and Graham Sierota (Drums), and their father (who is a producer/composer) who played 80’s essentials like Joy Division and U2 really influenced the kind of music Echosmith plays, which is generally safe 80’s pop music. While they are normally characterized as some sort of rock band, they are the furthest thing from that. As a drummer Graham is competent, but that’s the closest thing to a compliment I would give him. Jamie’s jangly and hook centered guitar lines are very clean and polished like the rest of the album, and its calm sound is very soothing. Talking Dream’s
soft and spacey atmosphere is entrancing, and is without a doubt the best aspect of the album.
The second time I saw Echosmith live I was sitting down with my friend, and Sydney walked right by us. Immediately a fan stopped her to tell her how fantastic the performance was, and that Sydney reminded her vocally of Hayley Williams. I scoff at the very thought. Hayley Williams is a powerhouse singer, and Sydney couldn’t even dream of matching her raw talent. On Talking Dreams
she sings the choruses well, but nothing is impressive about her voice. I enjoy her voice, but I wouldn’t compare her to any of the great female vocalists of rock music. Her brothers backing vocals add a nice male/female vocal dynamic, but their singing is nothing to write home about either. The lyrics overall are insipid, but harmless. There’s definitely some cheese on the album like “you make a girl go ohhh ohhh”, but what sort of lyrical genius am I suppose to expect from a bunch of teenagers, and half of them are younger than me. I’m only 18, and this band makes me feel old. The song everyone knows by Echosmith entitled “Cool Kids” has a message that I can’t stand in the slightest. ”I wish that I could be like the cool kids, ‘Cause all the cool kids, the seem to fit in.” It’s a song that panders the lower common denominator, and it seems to go against individuality, which makes sense considering how many of the songs on Talking Dreams
sounds like another song on Talking Dreams.
Here comes the schmaltzy part. Even with all these faults I can’t help but to like Echosmith. There’s an undeniable charm and likeability that has been present ever since I saw them in the summer of 2013. I’ve talked to them multiple times, and they’re very down to earth and nice people. I actually believe that the messages they convey in their music are genuine, no matter how cliched and redundant they may seem. Thier live concerts, also never disappoint. You can just tell when they’re on stage that they are having the time of their young lives, and seeming them transition from the Ernie Ball stage of Warped Tour to a full on headlining tour with television appearances on Conan and now Ellen is just incredible. There are some genuinely great songs on Talking Dreams
like the slow building and dreamy song entitled “Surround You” or the poppy anthemic “Come Together”, which should have been their breakout single. Overall Talking Dreams
is a clumsily written pop album with a few chilled jams. Just make sure when you fall head over heels for an up and coming band that you actually love their music. Echosmith has their heart in the right place with Talking Dreams,
but the cheesy songwriting ultimately destroys all hopes of musical greatness.