Kevin Echlin is a bit of a mystery to me. His covers, Youtube videos, and various other projects linger in the corners of the internet that I hang out in. I want to tell everyone about how great he is and just when I do, he disappears. In his grand return to my earbuds, Echlin, disguised under the name Deperuse, moves away from the folkier sound of his other works and creates a layered, lo-fi dreamy pop outfit for himself. For a one man show, it’s pretty impressive.
As evident in his other projects, the Windsor native wears his influences on his sleeves. Whether it be Fleet Foxes, Camera Obscura, or as evident here, Mac DeMarco, Echlin is not afraid to show what other artists inspire him. Despite this, with his powerful voice and natural talent at seemingly every instrument, Echlin’s stylistic flairs allow him to standout in these well-worn styles.
In the latter track, “DIY Uncertainty,” Echlin’s anxieties about being a musician and many of the emotions that are present in the record are at their loudest. Despite its late album appearance, “DIY Uncertainty” is the needed introduction to Echlin’s headspace. The time occupied by melancholy, where “everything is uncertain,” as he sings, and general poor mental health often has a vortex effect. Days go by without notice and things are forgotten. It’s done in a simple line but Echlin captures this effect with great accuracy when he sings, “…Just want to read my books again to find out how they end.”
Lyrical strength aside, “DIY Uncertainty” is littered with multiple time changes and warm guitar riffs that makes it easy to absorb. Sure the lo-fi sound is a giveaway of Echlin’s recording process but without Echlin’s description of the project as “one dude,” you would assume that Deperuse was the product of a late night jam session between friends. Which, to be fair, it probably was. Just a solitary session. A creative cliche yes, but the isolation of the creative process here shows how gifted Echlin is.
Like “DIY Uncertainty,” the actual album opener, “It’s All The Same” moves through numerous phrases. Heavy with harmonies and featuring the lightest melody of the group, at just over a minute and a half, a banjo makes a surprise appearance. For a record that fulfills much of the lo-fi pop record quota, the banjo is welcoming just as much as it is a surprise.
Amongst Echlin’s basement bedroom induced dreamy haze, other highlights include the heavy sounding “Working Hard,” which nicely mirrors the sadness of the number, and the urgency that fills “I’m Not A Shark!” As early blizzards reign down around us, “Winter Banal Blues” is a surprisingly fun ditty worthy of a spot on your winter playlist and a reminder that your winter induced sadness ain’t got nothing on the sadness that summer brings.
Whether in a band, a cover band, under a moniker, or under his own name, Kevin Echlin is full of talent. Now stop forcing me to go across the internet to find your stuff!
Top Tracks: “It’s All The Same” “DIY Uncertainty”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)