ALBUM REVIEW: Art d’Ecco — “In Standard Definition”

Art d'Ecco In Standard Definition Album Art

Like the sparkle of a disco ball, Art d’Ecco put together a dazzling collection of glam rock gems on his latest album, In Standard Definition. Released today via Paper Bag Records, the LP features 12 hip- shaking, toe-tapping, head-nodding tracks that boldly declare that there can never be enough glitz on a rock record.

If you’ve come across one of Art d’Ecco’s recent music videos—all of which magically take minimal sets and make them feel over the top—you might mistakenly believe his music is all about feel-good grooves. However, the brilliance of the tracks is more than skin deep.   While the album is an undeniably fun listen, d’Ecco hasn’t given us a group of songs devoid of meaning.  In Standard Definition was created as a concept album, taking on the modern idolatry of the celebrity cult of personality.  “No matter where you live or what language you speak, there’s an entertainment god for you,” d’Ecco explains. This theme is embraced best on “TV God,” a funky take on our obsession with manufactured airwave heroes.  

While it would be easy to get lost parsing through the parables on In Standard Definition, it’s often best to let the listeners discover what it means to them while enjoying the music…and there’s plenty to enjoy.  “I Am The Dance Floor” features a slinky groove that’s accented by luminous synth.    “Head Rush” explodes on the scene with a blast of horns and a clap along rhythm.  Album opener, “Desires,” has a stomping beat and loads of fuzzy guitar. The one real changeup on the record is its closer, “I Remember,” that starts with gentle guitar riffs, but gradually builds with the glow of synth.  Thanks to d’Ecco’s airy vocals, it’s a surprisingly beautiful song on an album full of rock bangers.

While there are plenty of reasons to compare d’Ecco to the music and androgynous-period style of David Bowie, the album also features other influences, from David Byrne’s electronic art pop to the new wave-tinged post-punk of Nation of Language.  However, d’Ecco has his own persona that shines through.  His vocals are clear, his presentation almost defiantly confident. 

With In Standard Definition, Art d’Ecco questions modern pop culture through catchy, throwback, glam rock jams. Many of the tracks are simply infectious: loaded with guitar fuzz, creative exploitation of synth, and downright dance-worthy beats.  Don your best wig, put on your favorite makeup, throw on your dancing shoes, and take a listen below. 

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Featured Image of Art d’Ecco by Mike Pepperdine