Escondido Soar With Dense, Layered Arrangements on Sophomore LP ‘Walking With a Stranger’ (ALBUM REVIEW)


escondidolpEscondido’s first album, The Ghost of Escondido, made for an auspicious entrance when they self-released it in 2013, establishing a high bar that a less talented duo might have found hard to overcome. Jessica Maros’ soaring, seductive vocals, framed by the sturdy accompaniment of partner Tyler James, suggested some darker designs hinted at in the title.  Fortunately though, the Nashville-based couple’s ability to plead, whisper, cajole and tug at the heartstrings suggested that a follow-up would definitely be something to look forward to.

Maros and James have had several successes since then, finding their music used on television and in films, while securing some coveted placement on any number of high profile tours. However unlike any number of other boy-girl pairings whose music serves mainly as a means of exchanging their feelings for each other, Escondido’s sound is all inclusive… a rich, robust, joyful noise that grabs the listener by the collar and refuses to let go.

Ironically,the push and pull was so challenging for their own psyches that it literally drove them apart. Several songs on sophomore set Walking with a Stranger address that malaise — “Try,” “Footprints,” MidnightTrain,” and “Heart Is Black” in particular. Fortunately, the two refused to succumb to their entangled emotions, relying instead on dense, layered arrangements — a musical mesh that fuses trumpets, violin, mandolin and baritone guitar with the usual pop regalia — to keep the energy and enthusiasm intact. Tracks like “Gambling Man,” “Moon Child” and “Leaving Brooklyn” sound as if they’re being swept along by some serious musical undertow, barely touching the ground but still anchored with authority regardless.

The ultimate result is an album that exudes both warmth and circumspect, weight and pretext. Yet it doesn’t get bogged down by its own importance either. It’s substantive to be sure, but it’s still the kind of record that can entertain at a party when the guests arrive, and keep the mood elevated until the company finally takes its leave. Then, when the morning-after arrives, and the  haze of the preceding evening still hangs heavy in the air, it can punctuate the proceedings and allow the darkness to disperse. Strangers no more, Escondido have definitely arrived, and they’ve brought their own kind of magic with them.

Related Content

2 Responses

  1. I really enjoy the new album and had a great time at the show last month. I’m looking forward to the summer tour schedule.

  2. Love the new album and was lucky enough to catch them on tour with the Lone Bellow. They put on an amazing live show…full of energy and the fun they have on stage transcends to the audience making for a great time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recent Posts

New to Glide

Keep up-to-date with Glide