Jefre Cantu-Ledesma

On the Echoing Green

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On the Echoing Green Review

by Paul Simpson

On the Echoing Green is the proper follow-up to Jefre Cantu-Ledesma's A Year with 13 Moons, a phenomenal album which redefined the possibilities of what can be created using tape manipulation, thudding drum machines, and noisy, wistful guitar feedback. Here, Cantu-Ledesma treads much of the same territory, but there's an increased pop sensibility. Waves of tape hiss and distortion are still present, but they don't intrude quite as much as they did before, and the melodies, while still frayed and sun-scorched, shine a lot brighter here. While Year kicked off with one lengthy epic and continued through shorter, fragmentary pieces, Echoing Green is split between longer, more developed compositions and brief vignettes. Either approach is fine, but it makes it a whole lot easier to pick out highlights on this album. The ten-minute "A Song of Summer" builds on the premise of the excellent between-album EP In Summer, enhancing the rhythmic guitar squalls and airy, New Order-esque basslines with lovely vocals from Argentinian singer Sobrenadar. She returns on "Tenderness," adding reserved murmurings to the fog of trippy beats, ringing guitars, and floating synths. Elsewhere, "The Faun" is a flurry of warm guitar melodies and softly thumping beats, and "Dancers at the Spring" is more romantic, with hazy guitars underpinned by a faint click track, and a general sense of fond reminiscence. While Year clearly felt like a devastating reflection on loss and abandonment, Echoing Green is an album of rebirth, new possibilities, and optimism. There are still shades of lingering doubt and distant regret, but overall, it demonstrates a renewed sense of hope.

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