Without attitude or arrogance, and quite possibly without even knowing it, Aimee Echo has been the voice of a generation of hardworking, fearless women in rock that do not know the meaning of the word “quit”. After fronting one of the most promising bands of 2000 (Human Waste Project), enduring the heartbreak of friend Lynn Strait’s death, and then the untimely demise of HWP, and standing up to rumors about her relationship with former Snot drummer, Jamie Miller (who now plays guitar for theStart) – Aimee Echo and her band have wasted no time in picking up the pieces and starting anew.
One of the most poignant and respectful moments for me was seeing Aimee after hearing about the break-up of Human Waste Project. There she was, at the Roxy on Sunset, as gracious and beautiful as one woman could be, looking each one of the club goers in the eye as we exited the club, passing paper flyers from her small, pale hand to ours, and telling us about her new project. “Please come and see my new band, theStart…”
It was enough to make you internally weep. Her tiny frame, seeming frail and weary, her angular, angelic face humbled and hopeful, asking everyone to attend her next gig. She was battle ready, but she was gentle and sweet where many might have been defiant and bitter.
Seeing this project emerge triumphant and strong, with a positive feel to the material and a colorful new face has made it seem that 2001’s theStart have unabashedly picked up where the Missing Persons and Kim Wilde of the 1980’s left off. There are so many reminiscent sounds on these tracks that they whisk you away to the days of plastic bras, fishnet gauntlets and rubber bracelets, but the songs remain solid instead of feeble, and genuine instead of cheesy.
The new CD on the Geffen label is called Shakedown!, and it may go without saying that this collection of danceable beats and catchy lyrics will make you want to move with them. That truth is apparent when witnessing the live performances of these songs, and the crowd reaction to them. Clean, clear keyboard and synth-pop soars from the background blending well with the guitar and bass swells, and Aimee’s undeniably endearing, sandpaper croon. Her voice is pure, and shattering on some tracks, and delightfully warm on others.
Right off the bat, the listener is wide-awake with the aforementioned Kim Wilde-esque chorus of the title track, and immediately bounced into first gear. Track 2 brings you into `love story mode’ with the pretty but rocking, sing-song qualities of “Gorgeous”, but my personal favorite is the moody feel of “Communion”. The lyrics come through with some element of darkness, and perhaps secretive subject matter. “If you could take me with you/ would you be delicate with me/This is my first time communion/ I cannot breathe or speak or see.” Nice, right? This song left me wishing for others more like it. Be sure to play it loud.
I also like “Melt” quite a bit, and a song called “Dirty Lion”. In fact, it’s difficult to choose which track is the most fun. There are plenty of goodies to indulge in on Shakedown!, and with 11 tracks to choose from, you’ll want to hit the repeat button at least once or twice. Each track has potential for hit status on any radio station in the country that has a sense of taste and class.
Whether the band gets airplay with Shakedown! or not, (and let’s hope they do!) from the sounds of the truly amazing songs on this CD, Aimee Echo and theStart are not returning to their humble beginnings at “square one”, not at all. Instead, the band have taken the progressive approach by grabbing the industry by the horns and taking it from the top. Right where they belong!
Want to hear some of the music from the demo?
Like what you heard? Buy it now! (Release date: July 24, 2001)
For the latest information on the band and where they will be next, check out the website here http://www.thisisthestart.com/