Don't Kiss Her Face
The Echelons have a lot going for them: quirky lyrics, a 1970s-inspired family ensemble, and fun tunes. Made up of father Ben Petrella, children Jessica and Louis, and neighbors Brian Santo and Brandon Grande, the Echelons make their debut with Don't Kiss Her Face.
Jessica is nineteen years old, and brother Louis is only twelve; this multi-generational dynamic gives the band a distinct aesthetic. At times, the band creates a light, west coast sound while the driving rhythms and prominent guitar conjure hints of punk rock.
My favorite song on the album is the title track. Its musical cohesion and witty lyrics tell the story of a high school girl who is too obsessed with her appearance. The band warns possible suitors that “she ain’t got a face until she puts it on in the morning.” Jessica leads the vocals on this piece, unraveling a yarn about a girl that all the boys can’t help gawking at, but who is, inevitably, artificial. I found this song to be a refreshing look at young women and self-image.
While the vocals on some tracks on Don't Kiss Her Face are a little rough around the edges, I am impressed overall with the musicality of the album. Jessica’s voice is clear and wonderfully folksy; I was left wishing she had been featured on more of the tracks. Brandon’s solid drumming and Ben’s strong guitar rifts kept the fledgling group grounded. This group’s funky lyrics and family-style band make them a stand-out in modern rock.