Acoustic acts these days are ten for a penny. Whether their influences are blues, folk, punk, whatever, one just needs to take a trip down to a local open mic night in order to hear and see a plethora of shaggy haired troubadours wearing their hearts on a multitude of steel-stringed sleeves. The problem is, while many of these artists show a sense of conviction about their songs (you’d be worried if they didn’t), a lot of it just seems like it’s all been done before. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rules and Cheltenham’s Stressechoes are one such exception.
Eschewing the acoustic stereotype of the ‘lone minstrel on stage’, this acoustic quartet are making music that is impressively accessible and candidly fraught without ever once coming across as overly emotional and clichéd. Sharing the vocal duties with three members allows for a deepened timbre and a varied pitch rarely afforded by similar acts such as that of Frank Turner or even Crowns. This gives the band an edge over their contemporaries and asserts them as something just that little bit different, whilst a steady balance of punk-fuelled urgency coupled with heartfelt lyricism also aids the band in furthering their plight.
There’s an inherent ability, exhibited by all four members of the band, to make a listener feel completely uplifted, irrespective of the emotions going on within the lyrics, and with a full length album and an EP behind them, there’s enough emotions to go round. ‘Branches’, taken from the band’s début EP Bitter Acoustic Noise, is fast-paced and frenetic as far as acoustic goes. A steady drum beat drives the track forward while a duel picked guitar serves as the hook. The lyrics, paradoxically, tell the story of a love he won’t forget in true singer-songwriter fashion.
There really is just too much going on within Stressechoes to confine to a review on a website, Already within their first two records there’s a total of twenty totally different tracks, each one worthy of it’s own mention. However, rather than I make trite comparisons and clichéd metaphors, telling you which songs sound like which bands, get on the band’s Bandcamp page and make your own opinion. You won’t regret it. This is music for those people who truly do wear their hearts on their sleeves, especially when they’re round a camp-fire.