Echo is the debut solo album by English singer-songwriter and musician Louis Pattinson. It was released on 18 March 2017 via PIAS Recordings. The album follows Pattinson’s time with the English rock band The Bunnymen, with whom he recorded two albums and had a string of successful singles. Echo is a reference to Pattinson’s late father, who died while he was making the album. The title track was inspired by the novel and 1997 film of the same name, in which a main character falls in love with a ghost.
The album art – designed by Pattinson with photographer Simon Henwood – depicts a man and a woman, echoing the album’s themes of loneliness and connection. The pair occupy a bare room, with only a mattress and some sleeping bags for furniture. The woman’s head is resting on top of the man’s chest, while he strokes her hair. Behind them, a painting of two shepherds looking at a star-filled sky is hung on the wall.
Behind The Scenes
To create a scene that feels more intimate and conversational, Henwood and Pattinson worked together to shoot the album in a variety of locations. Some of the photographs were taken at Wrigley Mansion in London, England, which was the former home of writer Mark Twain. The pictures showcase the pair interiors and exteriors, as well as their characters in various poses. The pair also visited Paris and Barcelona and recorded there. Many of the songs on the album were inspired by their travels, with the pair citing Barcelona as a source of strength and inspiration.
Echo Is A Strong Debut
Echo is a deeply personal album for Pattinson, who worked with producer Tim Goldsworthy (U2, Foo Fighters, One Direction, Adele) on the album. The singer-songwriter has said that he wanted to make the album “very much a reflection of [his] love and affection for his dad.” He explained: “I think that for myself, a lot of the album is about finding a strength in solitude and connection. I never really got the chance to know my dad as an adult. He passed away when I was very young. So a lot of this album is about trying to figure out who I am on my own and what I need to do.”
Pattinson worked with a number of famous English and Scottish singers on the album, including James Kirk (Tom Jones), Julie Fowlis (Bury Tomorrow) and Gordon Scott (Culture Club). He also enlisted the help of several high-profile producers, including Goldsworthy. One of the album’s highlights is the title track, described by The New York Times as “a gorgeous, wistful number that evokes Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell.” The pair also worked together to make the album’s artwork, and the end product is a triumph; it is an unassailable statement of artistic intent and vision.
The Bunnymen Inspiration
The title of the album comes from a 2009 single by alternative rock band The Bunnymen. Backstage, their back-to-wall studio photography, was initially published in an offshoot of Melody Maker in 1995 and later became a mainstay of the music magazine. The band’s frontman, Stephen Malkmus, cited Echo as an album that inspired him to become a solo artist. He said: “I love that guy.”
Indeed, one of the album’s highlights is “I Love You”, which Malkmus wrote after watching Louis perform with his band. The lyrics to the track speak to the heartbreak, anger and confusion of a man who has been betrayed by the woman he loves. Malkmus added: “If there’s one thing that this album and the solo career of Louis Pattinson demonstrate, it’s that you can’t tell someone how you feel about them. Sometimes, the only way to show someone you care is to just do it and hope they get the hint.”
A Timeless Debut
When asked about his influences, Pattinson cited contemporary music icons such as Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell and Leonard Freiwald as influences on Echo. The album art also nods to a number of iconic album covers, from Cohen’s LP Songs From a Room to Joni Mitchell’s Clouds with a Silver Lining. And like these music legends before him, Pattinson has created an album that is both accessible and timeless.