The 80s sometimes feel like a hazy, distant memory (well, they are 30 years ago – gulp!) For all the rose-tinted nostalgia, there were a lot of bad things happening (see: Cold War, Reaganomics, Earthquakes, Punky Brewster*, etc).
Music wasn’t bad. Sure, there was a clear bunch of people clanging to a scene, imitating instead of creating, but there were also bands that were quite intelligent and creative, doing some rather eclectic stuff that although it made an impact back in the day, it sometimes is overlooked by the tastemakers of today, who try to guide The Ringtone Generation (TM) through this digital valley of death.
With that said, Echodrone‘s got your back, as their lush new EP, Mixtape for Duckie, covers some hits from yesteryear. Some of them you have in your fondest memories, others, well, you might not want to admit you like them (saiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiilin’) but they are there, looking a bit nebulous in the distance.
Mixtape for Duckie covers range from 1979 (Gary Numan!) to 1990 (George Michael!), with a quick detour to a certain James Bond track. It is a nifty collection of covers, treating the originals with respect but never resorting to go Hanibal Lecter and wear the faces of their victims.
‘Time’ (The Alan Parsons Project) keeps a vigilant eye (not in the sky) over you, with the once soothing track keeping the easy going pace, with a thick layer of reverb and chorus for your shoegazey needs. It’s a gorgeous track to start the collection and the 6 minutes running time feels TOO SHORT. Make an extended mix, yo! ‘Are ‘friends’ electric?’ (Gary Numan) feels very playful, replacing the cold digital beats and bleeps from the original with the warm embrace of shogaze. It’s a nice embrace.
Now, I don’t give two shits what you think of Christopher Cross (man gave us two great songs, dammit) but I do enjoy his work and the cover of ‘Sailing’ is simply gorgeous. It’s like the ostentatious soundtrack to a dance you had with someone, so many lives ago, repeating itself in your mind for 5:48 minutes. You close your eyes and you can still feel the swaying you did to the song. Stunning cover.
The Lost Boys was one of the quintessential soundtracks of the 80s, and ‘Cry little sister’ (Gerard McMann) was the hook, line and sinker of that collection. Echodrone add a bit of synth, not unlike the one John Carpenter favoured for Escape from New York, and make the already chilling song a bit more scary. It’s one of those horrors that you can’t stop watching, Ctulhu style.
‘We have all the time in the world’ (Louis Armstrong) starts a bit stripped down, you can almost swear the band had their pedalboards sabotaged, but in comes a break and the wall of sound hits you like an inexperienced surfer getting wiped out. The cover of ‘Praying for time’ (George Michael) made me do a double-take: for a moment I thought it was The Cars‘ ‘Drive’ getting covered (which would’ve been 3 shades of awesome), but still is a sweet little ditty to cover. This is a very dream pop approach and the perfect denoument for this 6-track short story.
In a way, the covers in Mixtape for Duckie are like the covers a certain Mark Kozelek do, taking the song with utmost care and vivisecting it, keeping the essence and feelings associated. This is a gorgeous “while you wait” release by Echodrone , who are currently working on new material.
PS: I’ve never seen Pretty in Pink.
Words: Sam J. Valdés López
*The author would like to declare nothing but love for the show. However, the refrigerator episode scarred him for life.