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[ Zombina & the Skeletones ]
img Bridging a divide of over 5,000 miles, the duo of Chris Luna and Ash Lerczak have come together to form this excellent post-punk band. Ash Lerczak is well known as "Doc Horror" from the Liverpool-based horror-punk band Zombina and the Skeletones, a definite favorite for readers and listeners here on Gothic Paradise. He has teamed up with San Diego-based Chris Luna and together they formed Double Echo in late 2012. They released a couple of short EP's and came out with their debut album in June, 2013 titled Phantomime. In between everything else they've managed to continue to create great music with a release of another 3-track EP Life Inside / Rupture / Sylvia in early 2014.

The music this duo creates has a definite classic gothic sound with a lot of reverb, while heavy bass and haunting synths create the backdrop for the deep vocals. References have been made to all the classics from The Cure to Sisters of Mercy. In both cases the music is most like their early and darker works with a definite post-punk vibe similar to Joy Division. While there are plenty of bands that pop up indicating these bands as their influences, this duo really manages to pull it off well, true to the classic style.

The band doesn't have a lot of history yet, though we definitely know there's talent here and what they've release so far is great, so we look forward to many more years of great music from them.

Life Inside / Rupture / Sylvia - Review

This duo continues to bring together additional pieces to add to our collection. img This latest 3-track EP shows the band continuing to progress in establishing their unique style and improve overall production quality. The heavy early gothic influence really remains strong across these pieces with the heavy bass and deep vocals as the solid foundation.

Right off we hear a couple of main changes on this EP from previous works. The first on "Life Inside" is the clarity in the music as they tone back the reverb a bit and really bring out the vocals and each of the instruments. The overall mood still remains somewhat dark and brooding, yet moving over a dance-friendly beat. The second big addition we hear on "Rupture" are female vocals which definitely add a new dynamic to the swirling, ethereal and shoegaze guitars. The combination of these two things really make this piece stand out as a definite favorite. The final track is "Sylvia", which seems to be a continuation of gothic bands to sing about girls (ie. "Charlotte Sometimes", "Louise", "Michelle", "Alice" and so on). So we have another here which is another great piece. This one hearkens back a bit to the style of the debut album, adding a little more reverb to the overall structure, while keeping up something of a melodic approach as the layered synths and guitars stand out great against the back-drop of a moving, heavy beat and solid bass-line.

Hopefully these three tracks mean these two will continue to work toward more new releases in the future for us to enjoy. Again, highly recommended for fans of the classic gothic rock sound.

Rating: 4.5/5

Phantomime - Review

This is the debut full-length album for this duo and is also the first exposure I had to the band as I received it with the latest Zombina CD. img I was pleasantly surprised that Doc Horror also had a dark gothic side to him with this project. The album comes on a black vynil CD and is presented in the form of 10 reverb-filled, guitar-driven, post-punk tracks.

The title track kicks it all off with heavy bass and guitars all swirling together across a moving beat hearkening back to the early days of The Cure circa Faith and Pornography days. The deep vocals are caught amidst the billowing, reverb-filled guitars and synths, sometime intelligible, but most of the time forming something of a droning instrument in themselves, forming the melody of each piece. Pieces like "A Shadow" is aptly named as the dark and brooding music ebbs and flows as the soft yet deep vocals really take a back-seat to the heavy bass and guitar work. Then on the end of the spectrum is "Remains" which comes out strong on all fronts, though the vocals echo heavily, they are stronger and more intelligible while the various instruments also become more distinct rather than being sucked away into a vacuum.

With these few introductory tracks we get a good taste of the range of music and styles presented on the album. Across the 10 tracks it was hard to really pick out favorites as they are all excellent pieces and somewhat homogenous. While the heavy reverb and ethereal textures on various pieces give them a sort of dreamy or even slightly psychadelic feel, they still remain true to the gothic and punk roots, "A Shadow", "The Wake" and "Permanent Haze" sort of fit this bill. As the other pieces are a bit more moving, I can see them getting picked up more by those looking for a bit more of a beat and solid dance feel, "Phantomime", "Remains", "Playhouse" and "Scorched Flats" are solid pieces in this arena. The latter really stands out strong as a solid favorite for me. While not the most clear, with plenty of reverb still intact, the bassline and additional heavy synths break the mold a bit and overall it just comes out more melodic and catchy.

In the realm of post-punk revival that seems to really be a big hit now, this band has done a great job. More than just a copy of the early greats, they've really been able to form their own style and I'm sure we'll see more progression on overall quality and individuality w/ each new release. Definitely worth picking up for those fans of The Cure and Joy Division and other related artists in the gothic and post-punk genres.

Rating: 4.5/5

Website: www.doubleecho.bandcamp.com

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