Sound Advice: before the echo by valley of dreams
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Sound Advice: before the echo by valley of dreams

Local comedian Gregory Cochrane gets serious about '90s alternative rock on the first full-length release from his latest project.

The name Gregory Cochrane may sound familiar to the Toronto comedy crowd: Cochrane has been seen at local nights like Gong the Show, and was a finalist a few years ago in Yuk Yuk’s Great Canadian Laugh Off. Although not his first musical endeavour, valley of dreams sees Gregory Cochrane in a fairly substantial shift from his previous musical foray, the “stoner doom” metal group KEEF.

The release joins the likes of e.e. cummings, and bell hooks in the growing canon of intentionally uncapitalized cultural references, which is necessarily difficult for journalists to copy edit. Unlike these aforementioned predecessors, valley of dreams features easily accessible content and fun, relatable lyrics. before the echo is classic, unabashed ’90s rock, the kind of stuff we imagine Cher Horowitz-era Californian teenagers listening to in a Jeep Wrangler with the flaps rolled up.

The opening track, “quality time,” is reminiscent of Radish-era Ben Kweller; “part of our appeal” sounds a bit like what might happen if Brian Wilson took a stab at grunge music; and “don’t wait” has some new-but-also-old Oasis vibes—like how you wish Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds actually sounded—and ends with a cool Pixies-like rhythm shift. Drummer Ilios Steryannis’ stylings deserve a big shout-out, as they truly solidify before the echo within the alternative rock framework.

Recorded and mastered by Chris Perra at Hostile Studios, Cochrane’s compositions showcase an unselfconscious embrace of ’90s indie rock tendencies. Laced with Pavement, there’s some Halifax in there, too, like a less excitable early Sloan, or Super Friendz with the vocals held back in the mix. You can stream “totally it” above, and stream or download the entire album for free via valley of dreams’ Bandcamp page.