The Lower Echelon is the new-wave trio of Ehlert (Guitar / Vocals) Mr. Mike (Drums) and Courtney Ranshaw (Bass / Vocals) from Los Angeles in the USA.
The best way to approach The Lower Echelon is to clear some space and turn up the volume before hitting play and then frantically flail to the music. Whilst leaving the audience to do their thing the trio are skilled musicians, having been around since 2008, who are able to invite the listener to make a mess, yet retain tight control with their own deftly paced delivery.
The tracks are compressed springs of sound that seemingly gain velocity the further they travel from the speakers as chords bounce from each other with bass and guitar, whilst each individually striking cleanly across the fret-board, tumble over each other giving the impression of an acrobatic display and the drum has a delightful technique of keeping everything in order with its thumping skin strikes then suddenly throwing a joker into the pack with impetuous meanderings across steel – allowing The Lower Echelon to provide the audience with ever shifting parameters. The vocal, despite the impressive soundtrack, is still able to make its presence felt with its moody questioning of social structures around which the ethos of the band revolves.
Having had the opportunity to take a listen to the back catalogue as well as the forthcoming four track EP Come To The Loud which will be surfacing on the 8th of October as a Cassette for International Cassette Store Day with a limited run of 100 only, through Unpossible Records – what better reason will there ever be to make a trip to LA? – followed by digital release on the 10th (available on bandcamp), I merely ask The Lower Echelon make more of their music available more frequently for those of us who are not in Los Angeles and able to see them live.
You can guess I quite like The Lower Echelon as I can even forgive them for a cover of In The City by one of those nemesis bands of mine, which, as longer stay readers will know I struggle to even contemplate typing the band name – which is the last track on the forthcoming EP. I am restricted in what I am able to share with you from Come To The Loud, which means I am unable to share with you my pick of all the tracks by the band – the third Flops To Lops – but am able to share with more freedom older songs – of which Incessant, coincidentally also the third, on the four track EP – Descent of…the Lower Echelon – (also on bandcamp) is another firm preference of mine.
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