We Lose Our Shit Over IO Echo's "Ministry Of Love"!

Left to right, Leopold Ross and Ioanna Gika of IO Echo (photo by Brad Elterman)
So there I was late last night...okay, more like 3 a.m....jumping from one band or song to the next on Spotify in that mad search for "the perfect tune to crank at top volume."  I knew I wanted something loud, but not, you know, obnoxious loud.

Of course, I am always the first to break my own rule...especially when it's just me in the room.  So I typed in "Ministry".  Even as I hit the "enter" key, I regretted it, but as the list of songs and/or artists with the name "ministry" in them filled my screen, I clicked on a couple songs just to refresh my memory banks.

As I went to click on the tune "Thieves" from Ministry's "The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste", I missed and hit the song below it, which was "Ministry Of Love" by IO Echo.  The cover art appeared before the song started playing and the traditional Asian-themed concept led me to gasp in horror.  Okay, more like dread of hearing music you're really not in the mood for at the moment.

But then the song started to play.

I was soon kissing my meaty fingers for missing the intended target and turning me on to something called IO Echo that was now thundering about the room like a shoegazy roller derby team.  That's a crazy description, I know...until you hear the song.  For starters, I love the fact that they went with big, boomy drums instead of the "cardboard box" sound that everybody else seems to be favoring these days because we're all listening to music on shitty speakers.  Anybody with decent speakers instantly realizes that the drums sound like fucking shit.

And when singer Ioanna Gika hits that first chorus, you feel it in your private parts:

"The sound of your heartbeat
Is the sound I believe.
It's a rhythm of emotion,
Forever taking me away, away."

I am literally jello as I continue listening.  This is the exact song my ears had been craving and it is with sublime artistry that the song traces my soul and fills in every void.  For those four minutes and five seconds, I am complete.

I mean, the song has everything: sludgy Peter Hook bass, Johnny Marr guitars, cannon-fire drums, and, last but not least, Sinead O'Connor and Siouxsie Sioux fighting over the microphone.

As I pull up their album and begin listening from the top like a good lad, my worst fear is that I've just heard a forgettable band put all the ingredients together for one perfect song that only serves to magnify the inferiority of every other song they will ever record from now until the day they break up out of frustration of everyone leaving their shows the minute they finish playing "Ministry Of Love".

"Shanghai Girls" enters the room like a faint extra-terrestrial communique, then the sky falls in.  As shards of sky fall all around you, trashing every car on the street, your garden, the next door neighbor's above-ground pool, good riddance, Gika's elegiac vocals, recalling Sioux's own in "Hong Kong Garden", fend off any that stray a little too close to home...literally.

After the first three tunes blow my toupee clean across the street...fuck, that's no toupee, that's my fucking scalp...I prepare for the inevitable letdown that happens on so many other top-loaded albums these days, but...lo and behold, it never comes.

In fact, I find myself falling deeply in love with the irresistibly cute-but-bad-ass "Draglove", which should be a monster fucking hit in ANY universe, even this one.

That the same band can so effortless change gears a couple moments later for the ethereal Hammond B3 psych-swirl of "Berlin It's All A Mess" is utterly awe-inspiring.

By now, I'm wondering what label these guys are on, where their from, the usual "WTF?" after a band I didn't even know existed a few minutes ago hands me my ass.

In a perfect world, they'd be from England and signed to 4AD, but, reality being what it is, they're not.  I leave the rest for you to discover later, if so inclined.  For now, all I ask is that you listen.

Superior St. Rehearsal Facility

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