The Shadows and Sparkles of Norwegian Alt-Pop Outfit Pre-Echo's Debut EP

The Shadows and Sparkles of Norwegian Alt-Pop Outfit Pre-Echo's Debut EP

I swallowed the sun for you to see me shine.
I swallowed the sun for you to see me shine.
I swallowed the sun…

Somewhere in Oslo, five university students met and pooled their talents to become Pre-Echo, an alt-pop outfit blending deep blooms of synth with wailing jazz details, all while gently delivering lines like the above — lyrics so seemingly simple but when echoed into the ether evolve into the type of songwriting that squeezes your chest and forces you to confront the things you try to hide inside of you. This feat they so effortlessly accomplish isn’t necessarily clear, though, because Pre-Echo expertly disguise their profundity beneath beds of groovy jazz-flavored arrangements touched by pop here and by rock there. On their debut EP, consider this, the band offer five buzzing, genre-blending tracks that flow one right into the other.

consider this opens with the punchy “well, i guess,” moving between the minimalist slow burn of staccato percussion and the more aggressive moments that find those breathy vocals gaining energy as the percussion suddenly erupts and merges with the throbbing buzz of synth. The track continues to move like this, in and out of the soundscapes it’s built, the softer moments lulling like a salve while the darker moments slap and claw the quietude with urgency. Next comes “we’ve had enough,” a more obvious combination of Pre-Echo’s jazz backgrounds and their commitment to pop-rock. The synth layers and the sparkling electronics create this sort of blooming effect, like the song is trapped in a swollen force field, inside of which they are able to toss their talents back and forth between them. The percussion, when it kicks in, steadies its own jangling then disappears as quickly as it appears. The keys hang shimmering in the air. The vocals float on the backs of each instrument, sometimes soaring high above them, but sometimes muffled like a hand over the mouth.

The halfway mark of consider this finds “who did this,” a groovy foray into clamoring 80s echoes and jazzy bass riffs. There’s not much cohesion on this track, but the rest of the EP has prepared us for its often discordant, disjointed nature that the band (strangely) succeeds in making beautiful. On “earth says,” the indie arrangements expand, stretching far and wide to accommodate robust layers of percussive cracks, vibrating neon synths, and dreamy vocal harmonies. Later, the multi-instrumentation drops out to allow for that remarkable imagery we mentioned before: “I swallowed the sun for you to see me shine.” Now, the song moves forward through softer palettes blooming with warm indie-rock elements, moving in and out once again through both the light and dark that have become Pre-Echo’s signature. The EP ends with “you,” the record’s shortest song but perhaps its most mesmeric. The soft patter of guitar strums opens the track, these gentle plinking tones that remain steady under mellow vocal delivery. Soon, quiet swells of synth begin to sprout in the background as faint wisps of vocal echoes float among the barely-there arrangement. It’s not a dynamic end. It doesn’t wallop listeners or even surprise us, but it does offer sweet comfort, gently concluding a vibrant collection.

On their debut EP, Pre-Echo make an impactful introduction to the Scandinavian music scene. Combining the warmth of jazz with the bursts of synth is no small feat, but the band does it effortlessly, in effect crafting an entirely one-of-a-kind sound that finds them delivering a record that is equal parts punchy and poignant.

Listen to consider this below and connect with Pre-Echo on Facebook, Instagram, and Soundcloud.

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Featured photo of Pre-Echo by Jan Tore Eriksen.

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