Mile Me Deaf – ‘Ecco’ reviewed

Soothing soundscapes and pop grooves from Wolfgang Möstl.

Mile Me Deaf return with their new album Ecco on Siluh Records.  Reborn and revived as an outfit whose increasingly synthesized productions are buoyed by the most scintillating tunes of Wolfgang Möstl’s who, under a variety of guises has written and produced fifteen album career to date.

Following the release of Mile Me Deaf’s last full-length album, Alien Age, the fruitful project of Austrian visionary and multi-instrumentalist Wolfgang Möstl seemed to have run its course, coming to a head with a vibrant vision of a colourful pop dystopia.

Having started out in the early part of the millennium with his rock outfit Killed By 9V Batteries, Möstl has become one of the most prolific individuals in Vienna’s busy underground scene. Transcending the confines of the scene, Möstl has also toured America twice with both Mile Me Deaf (with a song featuring on US drama series This Is Us), and anarchic fuzzy pop group Sex Jams.

So what happened next?  The intervening years saw Möstl meet increasing demands for his production work (Dives, Voodoo Jürgens), work with his Stoner Rock outfit Melt Downer, Vaporwave project Voyage Futur, plus singer-songwriter Clara Luzia. Amongst all this frenetic activity he still found the time to become a father.

Inescapably drawn back to Mile Me Deaf though, Ecco manages to somehow find Möstl at the peak of his pop prowess. The revived soundscapes are presented by the use of synths, samplers, and a futurist pulse rather than the once relied upon guitars, underlining Ecco’s central theme of rebirth.

Fuelled by an impulsive stream-of-consciousness writing process, Möstl finds himself guided down a single, dark path towards a glittering album of potent post-psychedelic, post-human pop about birth and death, and how everything is ultimately a circle of birth, re-birth and death.  As Möstl puts it rather cynically, “It’s hard to write songs about a world you basically destroyed.”  

Track One Stop And Rewind starts with the concept of everything being born and dying, forming the infinite circle of life. “All is echoing infinitely” explains Möstl and this theme is repeated in the later tracks Phase and LoopStop and Rewind along with the similar vibe of track two Weirdness have an Echo and the Bunnymen sensibility that wouldn’t feel out of place on McCulloch’s latest offerings.

Mile Me Deaf (c) Beate Ponsold.

In start contrast track three Sweet Earth has a more commercially pleasing aesthetic with its slower chilled-out vibe.  To The Outside World continues with the familiar theme, this time emanating the slow-burn funk of Duran Duran.  Loop continues the infinite theme of birth and death and has a trip-hop beat to a synthesized rhythm, still tackling the circle of life story.  The Plan is the lead track of the album and is being championed by BBC 6Music.  It has a Reggae sensibility with a chilled out ‘Ibiza at Sunset’ vibe that urges you to slow down, smell the coffee, and appreciate all life that is going on around you.

Track seven, the penultimate track on the album is Holodeck which is a perfect pop song with a casually cool Saint Etienne vibe, and all too soon we find ourselves at the end of the album with track eight Phase which ends in a completely different place to where we begun; we’re gently eased into the song with soothing seascape sounds before being launched into a melodic funk.

Möstl’s latest offering and the next stage of Mile Me Deaf in ‘Ecco’ is impossible to resist; here, you will find joy in intoxicating pop grooves and chilled out vibes.  Fans of Echo and the Bunnymen, Delphic and Saint Etienne should give this album a go.  You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Mile Me Deaf – ‘Ecco’ out now from Siluh Records.

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❉ Ange Chan is a regular writer for We Are Cult and has published six volumes of poetry and two novels of contemporary fiction.  She is currently also working on a long-standing project of her third novel Champagne Flutes and Pixie Boots.

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