Obfuscation For The Nation

In a similar lyrical vein to Russ Litten’s spoken word work with Steve Cobby (posted yesterday) come Leicester’s Echolocation, back for another round, grappling with the truth. The vocals tackle (as Cobby and Litten did yesterday but more opaquely) life in Brexit Britain and the impact of Trump with songs like Post Truth and Alt-Facts but also offer a more surreal and impressionistic version of the 21st century (see Day Of The Dads and Death Threats). On previous albums the sound was more democratic with a variety of instruments and a widescreen, soundscape approach. On Obfuscation For The Nation the guitars are centre stage, riffs and distortion to the fore, riding on top of driving drums and bass, with synths and keys adding texture. They recently performed with Damo Suzuki as his band when he played Leicester- Suzuki uses local groups as ‘sound carriers’ when he plays live. ‘Can you read between the lines?’ Echolocation ask, ‘Do you know your own mind? Can you make up your own mind? Stay on topic!’ Worth considering I say. Buy it here.

Barking Up The Wrong Tree

My friends in the Midlands Echolocation have a new album out, Empire, Blood And Bones, available now at Bandcamp. They used to claim they were ‘the most hated band in  Leicester’ but have gone a step further by now styling themselves, a little iffily, as ‘the provisional wing of the Leicester music scene’. Over guitar, drums and bass, plus trumpets and flugelhorn, keys, cello, fiddle and whatever else is lying around the practice room, front man Pete tells tales of existential doubt, life and work in the retail sector and socio-political unease.

My current favourite is second song the post-punky Barking Up The Wrong Tree- opening with a sequel of feedback and a driving beat Pete sings his discontent as piano and guitars build. A trumpet mourns during the chorus. Following the band members on social media gives further insight into their likes (Bury F.C. and Leicester City, Jeremy Corbyn, Nick Cave, Belgian beer, Wussy) and dislikes (Cristiano Ronaldo, the BBC, Adele, Glastonbury, Donald Trump). Opinionated bassist pictured above.


Leicester’s eightpiece experimental outfit Echolocation return with their latest recordings, a seven track album called Softer. There’s nothing softer about their approach though- their songs have a tendency to start slowly and build, layering cello and trumpet on top of the guitars, bass and the swinging drums. Over all of this vocalist Pete tells tales, utters controlled rants and vents spleen (Kasabian getting in the neck this time).

There’s some complex and dense arrangements going on here, but the production is skillful, allowing everyone space and time to unfold fully. They’ve got some internet press with this release and a review from no less than Mr Luke Haines, who tweeted ‘Nae bad. Good singer n lyrics.Loose indie drumbeat/jamming. Construct crit. Echolocation crap name. Name is everything. But its good’. Praise indeed from an Autuer and Black Box Recorder. Buy it atBandcamp for only five of your pounds (or for ten pounds a limited edition cd with a hand made furry cover).


Grand Prix

Two new songs from my friends Echolocation- ‘the least popular band in Leicester’- fresh from their triumphant appearance at number 2 in Moorland Radio’s end of year poll (there’s seven of them in the band, they all voted multiple times; that’s democracy for you). The first is Grand Prix with the message ‘it’s nice to be nice’ and guitars and horns a go go. The second is the deeply sardonic BFF (Best Friends Forever). Buy at Bandcamp for only £2.

When I drafted this the Bandcamp embed thing was playing up so if the player isn’t in the space below you can find them here.

Sparrows, Potatoes, Workshops, Ladies

My friend H plays in a band called Echolocation, mainly in the Leicester area. Recently they supported Sparrow And The Workshop who have had two well received albums including Spitting Daggers, out earlier this year. He recommended them to me, both live and on disc, in fulsome terms. And who can deny a band so well dressed and with twin moustaches? They do a kind of alt-folk-rock noir, old time music and old time instrumentation, and it works really well. There’s some rockier numbers among the dark folk but I had to go for this song, the true story of King Louis XV’s fourteen year old Irish mistress.

>Check Your Sheds, Check Your Sheds, I Think I’ve Lost My Mind


For Webbie and any other interested readers- Half Man Half Biscuit played one of their rare gigs in Leicester on Thursday night. There was a full first team plus substitutes of middle aged men in Dukla Prague away kits and HMHB’s merchandise stall with cassette singles from the eighties still being offered. Echolocation, friends of mine were supporting them, and played their customary experimental set, being greeted with both applause and bafflement. HMHB arrived on stage at 9 ish and then played 29 songs in under two hours. Opening up with a tribute to two recently departed icons (Poly Styrene and Fred Titmus) they played songs from their whole back catalogue, from The Trumpton Riots up to new and unreleased ones, with top quality between song banter- especially the bit about an argument guitarist Ken had at Bradgate Park about whether you should have salt on boiled eggs. Speaking to Geoff, manager and owner of Liverpool’s Probe (shop and record label), he said the new album should be out in September with at least eleven new songs. However by this point I had drunk quite a lot, and my memories are a little blurry. H, guitarist in Echolocation and long standing campanero of mine, recorded the whole gig from the mixing desk. Towards the end, during the song Them’s The Vaguaries, my drunken voice shouting out the next line of the song (‘Bin Men, thin men , lexicographers’) is clearly audible during the breakdown in the middle of the song. Apologies for that. This is set closer (I think, it was towards the end if not the final song) We Built This Village On A Trad Arr. Tune, live in Leicester two nights ago. How’s that for blogging service? This song contains more great lines than most people manage over an album- the title of this post for example, ‘Yonder the deacon in misguided trousers’, ‘It fills me with joy to see moshers out jogging, it fills me with joy to see joggers out moshing’, ‘It’s a cricketing farce with a thickening plot, Act One Scene One Brenda Blethyn gets shot’ among them. They may be our finest folk band I think.

>You’re Going On After Crispy Ambulance


After work tonight I’m driving down to Leicester, jewel of the East Midlands, to see Wirral’s finest Half Man Half Biscuit play a rare gig. They’re at The Auditorium and being supported by Leicester band Echolocation, some of whom I know. I just hope there isn’t a running order squabble fest.

‘Half past four, half past four, you said half past ten to us’
‘No dry ice, no dry ice, hey Jason they’ve got no dry ice’
‘There’s no way on earth they should be on after us, they haven’t even got an album out’.

‘CND? CND? We’re not going on after Chas ‘n’ Dave’

Echolocation ‘Another Thing’

Over the last few years I’ve spent many weekends in Leicester, visiting Mrs Swiss’s sister, her husband and their daughter. It turns out Leicester has a decent live music scene, with several good venues (although indie circuit legend The Charlotte has shut now I believe), and we’ve seen plenty of good bands. Black Carrot from Market Harborough for one, and this lot Echolocation for another. They’ve just released a new album (their second I think) which turned up in the post yesterday (oooh, freebie, hark at me). I’ve met them a couple of times before or after gigs, and they seem like a nice bunch of chaps. Even the bassist.

Plenty of instruments on show here, guitars, keys, horns, cello, they seem to have added another member each time I’ve seen them. This song Another Thing is pretty up-front and direct, featuring a killer guitar riff, a little attitude and frontman Pete’s Mark E. Smith-esque delivery. See what you think.

another thing.wma