Vinyl Spotlight: Echosmith – Acoustic Dreams

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Every so often, our resident vinyl lover, Kiel Hauck, takes the time to talk about a recent vinyl release and gives a breakdown about everything from packaging to sound quality. Here’s his latest installment.

Echosmith, the indie pop outfit hailing from Chino, California, exploded onto the scene in 2014 thanks to the massive success of their hit single “Cool Kids”. During their whirlwind summer, the band released a collection of acoustic tracks titled Acoustic Dreams that flew largely under the radar. For Record Store Day 2015, the band released that EP on vinyl for the first time.

Comprised of Sierota siblings Sydney, Graham, Noah and Jamie, Echosmith has the perfect combination of melody and pop to translate well on acoustic recordings. Acoustic Dreams was an unexpected Record Store Day treat that we picked up and haven’t been able to stop spinning. Let’s take a look at how the release stacks up.

Packaging and Presentation

Unfortunately, this record falls short when it comes to packaging goodies. Acoustic Dreams consists of a single sleeve with a front cover that resembles last year’s commercial release of Talking Dreams. What’s unfortunate is that the original cover for the album was a beautiful mixture of color that got nixed when the band broke big. Some re-imagining of that dream-like artwork would have been fun to see on this special release, but alas, the final product is pretty simple.

The record itself is pressed on white vinyl and spins at 45 RPM. While it’s nothing special, the white vinyl does add a bit of appeal. Some extra artwork or an insert would have helped this release immensely from a presentation standpoint and the lack of a digital download card is rather disappointing as well.

Sound and Quality

The best part about Acoustic Dreams is that these songs are fantastic. The simple acoustic nature of the songs lends well to a vinyl release and the tracks sound great. A broken down version of “Cool Kids” features a violin and an extra dash of emotion in Sydney’s vocals, making it even more pleasing than the original version. “Talking Dreams” features wonderful harmonies from Sydney, Noah and Jamie. This new version has a throwback feel that makes it sound as though it belongs in a different time.

Likewise, new track “Terminal” has an old pop feel to it. The gentle guitar strumming gives way to an eclectic mix of sounds during the song’s chorus, including powerful drumming from Graham. Each song on the EP pays homage to its original while taking on its own unique personality.

Overall, Acoustic Dreams is a great collection of songs, but the label did the band no favors with the release’s lack of extras. Maybe so many special releases on Record Store Day have made me greedy, but I feel as though any insert at all would have added to the experience of this record. Regardless, it’s a fun release for fans of the band and there are still some copies out there for purchase.

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kiel_hauckKiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.

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