This is what electro-pop should be. Richard Warren, going under the name Echoboy for the third time, has teamed up with gifted producer Flood (U2, Smashing Pumpkins) to create Giraffe, just over 50 minutes of techno-inspired pop music. This skinny, small white man from England creates lush soundscapes or barren musical deserts with such precision and skill that sometimes you might get a belly of butterflies waiting to hear what comes next.
Giraffe finds Echoboy commenting on modern society, his love of electricity and expressing relationship grievances. His variance in song topics is matched by the differences in styles. Some tracks drip with slow beats with Warren crooning in a falsetto; on others he runs his voice through a processor to make it sound deep and mechanical. The true genius of the work comes out when Echoboy slowly layers each song, builds it to the crescendo and then tears it back down piece by piece to show the listener every possibility of the song.
This is Moby on drugs, swapping song titles like “God Moving Over the Face of the Waters” for “Lately Lonely” and “Don’t Destroy Me”. Echoboy works hard to fight the boredom that can easily set in while listening to electronic music; he changes his beats, his repetitions of phrase and his synth backdrops quickly and frequently. Just when you realize you want the heavy bass to go away on “Fun In You”, everything stops, leaving only the simple acoustic guitar riff on which the song was built. When you start to crave the darkness of the music to accompany his urgent singing, all the pieces fall right back into place. Giraffe is an intense listen that only gets better with time. Warren has truly taken his art to a new level.
Rating: 4 Stars.