Missing In Stars – Echo Point
From it’s opening beats, Echo Point throws out all those familiar and recognisable EDM tropes, laced with an Eighties vibe. ‘Frail’, the album’s opening track channels elements of New Order and Depeche Mode, with its lightly aggressive electronica that runs on top of striking hits of bass which add a darkness that sits in contrast with the more sparkling synths that weave and dance through the mix. The overall tone of the record runs right through, like a distinctive thread holding all the tracks together – ‘A Lonely Love Song’ in particular throbs and flails with its depth of emotion, the rousing vocal acting as a sonic call to arms. ‘I Fall’ brings in a brighter element, this time more in the vein of Angels And Airwaves, a slightly saccharine sweetness on offer and a thundering rave synth that is the staple of all dance floor attractors, while ‘Chair Of Sorrows’ pulls things back to create a more pensive soundscape with its wide, yearning cello notes drawing out the kind of introspection you might expect from Trent Reznor. The magical blend of glacial, shimmering synthesizers with gritty, snarling bass notes is frequently disarming, not least on ‘Black Sun’, where the vocals give a nod towards Editors. The brooding is palpable, at times as if pure emotion might start to slowly seep out of the speakers and any moment. ‘It’s Time To Go’ harnesses the feel of classic Euro-dance, with the urgency of Atari Teenage Riot’s Alec Empire, yet here the vocals are restrained, considered, and delivered with care. Even more so, ‘Silent Deceiver’ is extra stripped back, gradually unfolding into an ethereal, choral performance which eventually sees huge piano chords arrive with a wheezing drum kit that beats along like a committed life support machine until the track finally reaches its final breath. ‘Frozen Left In Time’ is another example of the effective use of shimmering piano on the album, creating a deeply melancholic tone that perfectly matches the long vocal notes which echo out far and wide. The later portion of Echo Point is particularly stripped back, with the penultimate track ‘A Final Scent’ gradually reintroducing the powerful EDM elements that were so prevalent at the start of the album, picking up the pace and adding a perky beat that grabs the attention and draws the listener in to get lost in its sprawling synths that intermingle with the robotic bass and unrelenting kick drum. And so, it is on ‘A Dove For Isolation’ that brings Echo Point to its conclusion – a closing track that draws together all the various elements that have been on show throughout the album and an effective reminder of the distinctive aspects of Missing In Stars’ sound. What makes Echo Point so accessible is the way in which it brings together elements of classic rock with a more underground EDM tone and the occasional moment when things lean towards a gritty industrial sound.