Echobelly might actually be better than the mildly similar, better-known Elastica in the "New Wave of the New Wave" Brit scene sweepstakes, if for no reason than so far their A-sides are equally good, but Echobelly's B-sides are better. Sure Sonya Aurora Madan sounds just like Debbie Harry, just as Justine Frischmann does, and just as Debbie herself recalled the Shangri-La's and Lesley Gore. That's to say she has a strong, assertive, distinctive set of glorious pipes (no Go-Go's/Blake Babies high-pitched, teeny-bop stuff here). On the choruses of the A-side, and the swooping, soaring "Centipede," Madan really belts but good! But hey you writer types, these folks are no Blondie/Knack/Cars nostalgists, or anything that screams Primitives or Darling Buds. These guitars bite big-time for one thing, and the band's forward pulse and rhythmic assurance point to a great post-punk rock band, period, with Suede's swagger (minus the Bowieisms). And the fricking songwriting is ace. Echobelly know a hook when they take a big mouthful of one. Here's a four-piece who sound like they have real staying power, new scene be damned. Great sleeve artwork, too.
by Jack Rabid