Echoboy, the recording moniker of the genre-bending artist Richard Warren, returns with a much-anticipated follow up to his two critically lauded albums, Volume One and Volume Two. This release finds him once again effortlessly melding a divergent set of styles to create, at times, sublime pop masterpieces. When the effort works well, as it does on the opening track, “Automatic Eyes,” it achieves that curious singular greatness: an ability to defy convention and create a track that is once and at the same time both retro sounding and so thoroughly modern as to defy exactly when it was recorded. Of course, some of the credit should certainly go to famed producer Flood, who helps guide the process along, rounding off some of the sharp points and crafting a delicious modern electronic album. Similarly, “High Speed in Love,” evokes a sexy soundtrack that is so positively cinematic in its use of gentle swathes of keyboards and Warren’s falsetto that it makes you almost forget the trite lyrics.
The lyrics are Echoboy’s Achilles’ heel. It seems no amount of production, no matter how stylish, can replace some of the ill-thought out lyrics. “Fun in You,” revels in some sinewy grooves and menacing ambience, but is derailed when Warren sings: “Solitary girl, looks like you’re on fire/ Concentrate on a space inside/ Like a lion I walk through the red night/ Your love puts me in rewind.” Huh?
At its best, Giraffe demonstrates the ability of a very talented artist to meld somewhat disparate sounds and elements to create an interesting album. At times, it can be an album to dance to and at other times an album to chill out, a make-out album. Now, if only we could get Warren to enroll in a creative writing class to polish some of these lyrics.
Mute Records: http://www.mute.com/