The Echo-Friendly – Mercury Lounge – June 21, 2012
Nothing and everything changed this spring when the Echo-Friendly’s best song, “Same Mistakes,” was featured in the closing montage of an episode of HBO’s popular and divisive show Girls. This moment brought the band untold numbers of new fans, many of whom easily related to a show about the tragic comedy (or sometimes just tragedy) of mid-20s romance. Of course, the irony is that the Echo-Friendly represents the real version of some of the narrative heartbreaks offered as a somewhat credible facsimile on Girls.
For those who know the band well, the story of the breakup and continued friendship of the two lead singers, Jake Rabinbach and Shannon Esper, is well documented. For the fans who found the band through HBO, many of whom filled Mercury Lounge last night, they were matched perfectly, the strange intersection of life imitating art imitating life again. Truthfully, both everyone and no one know the Echo-Friendly. The group’s first four songs are, to most, entirely unknown. When they played “There’s a Part of Me Nobody Sees but You” and “Worried” the audience girded itself with recognition of Esper’s Chrissy Hynde–inpsired vocals and Rabinbach’s effusive guitar playing.
Of course, the whole evening, to a certain extent, built inexorably toward “Same Mistakes,” the song everyone knew they would play last. This was the new Brooklyn slow dance, a grinding and beautiful ode to the poor choices of post-adolescence. Esper curled into Rabinbach’s shoulder as the song concluded, a moment that felt like real New York truth, like the fact that the girls and boys who live off the F train are undeniably less attractive than those who live off the L. But for a band from Greenpoint with a complicated history, a band that used a description of its neighborhood as an invocation, a band with lead singers who live just blocks apart, it was the girls and boys who live off the G train that will break your heart. —Geoff Nelson