Echo Courts: A new room with a view
By: Katei Cranford
After a few years regrouping and touring, North Carolina psych-poppers Echo Courts are a slimmed-down four-piece with a new record, Room With A View, out on Friday from Refresh Records.
Fluttering for a bit following member fall-outs and major moves, Echo Courts harnessed fresh enthusiasm and “found themselves with a set of songs that showcase a matured, more focused sound.”
“The album’s title says it all. The songs come from a refreshed perspective,” guitarist Kelly Fahey said of the album’s titular theme.
“There’s this quote from a Bob Dylan interview about how an artist should never feel like they’ve arrived somewhere, rather that they’re always on their way to the next place. That’s always really stuck with me,” Fahey said regarding his artistic drive and direction.
“Room With A View is a necessary step forward,” he asserts.
“After In the Garden, the band pretty much broke-up. A lot of these songs were written when I didn’t have an outlet. It was very low pressure and really fun actually, to just write and not worry about having to play the songs for other people,” Fahey recanted. “I moved to Raleigh, and kind of gave up [having a band] for a time, so I approached writing differently then.”
“Bowie had just died when I wrote the very first songs for this album. I was listening to a lot of Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars; and the Kinks, specifically Village Green Preservation Society,” he said.
Fahey isn’t fueled only by throwbacks and finds contemporary inspiration in artists such as Daniel Romano, Angel Olsen, Chris Cohen and Big Thief. Comparisons to spritely psych classics, such as the Left Banke and the Zombies, rightly remain.
It’s a varied perspective from the band’s Ice Cream Social release in 2014, where “most of the songs were written about that weird summer space where you’ve already graduated and you don’t really have anything to do,” Fahey told The Carolinian.
Seasons change. This is echoed in the new record, which, according to the band, exhibits “a retreat from the sunshine ‘60s pastiche of their previous work.” Fahey added, “It’s important to keep moving forward, and at the same time we’re all maturing as songwriters and as people, so it’s a natural progression.”
As meteorological references go, Room With A View sees jacket-weather on the horizon. All Things Go Music calls the lead single “Take Away,” a “Charming beachy single for this increasingly warmer days. As a cool breeze may offer new insight at unexpected moments, this one is all about gaining perspective in a changing tide.”
This seems fitting for Fahey who confessed a preference for colder weather. “We never really try for that summery kind of vibe, so it’s strange that it always happens. I think that Luc and I’s pop sensibilities kind of lend themselves to writing brighter sounding songs because that’s the stuff we came up listening to.“
Those sensibilities which blossomed a writing partnership with co-vocalist, Jean-Luc Swift, on In The Garden have been firmly cemented in Room With a View, both of which Swift recorded in his Domestic Studio.
“We more often than not use each other as a sounding board to bounce ideas off of, trying to keep it as democratic as possible so everyone feels like they have a voice,“ Fahey said of their writing style.
Everyone comes together in Room with a View, a record which Fahey called “a breeze to record compared to In The Garden.” The ease he credits to bassist Nate Goldsmith (of Blueberry) and drummer Nick Parascandola. “They are so crucial to what we do now, the reason that this record sounds as good as it does has a lot to do with them offering us a sense of stability to work with.“
“We have a desire to constantly better ourselves as musicians and the band as a whole,” Fahey said of signing with Refresh Records. “We decided to schedule the release show at the end of the tour rather than the beginning since it’ll feel so good to play a homecoming show around so many familiar faces after being out on the road for a while,” he said of the upcoming east coast tour and album release.
“We’re playing with some of my favorite North Carolina-bands and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Room With A View lands on Friday, the release show is on Aug. 15 with Museum Mouth, Lilac Shadows, and Stevie at Kings (14 W. Martin St.) in Raleigh.
Katei Cranford is a GSO rock ‘n’ roller and Triad music nerd. She also hosts Mostly Local Monday, a radio show that runs like a mixtape of bands touring NC the following week, every Monday 5-7pm on WUAG 103.1fm.