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But even with a full band, Wambeke still did most of his recordings solo, playing almost all the instruments himself. By the time Fell dropped, Wambeke was well into the recording of its followup, Incoherent Lullabies — an album he describes as "more poppy and dreamy." But a far more dramatic delay was about to hold up that release: Dale, the band's patron, was diagnosed with lymphoma. "It was really bad," Wambeke says. "Tony told us, 'I don't know when I can put it out.'" Eerily, the final song on Fell's first CD for Camera Obscura is titled "Cause of Cancer," but Wambeke is quick to point out that the song was made far before Dale came down with his illness. "Sometimes my song titles don't mean anything," Wambeke explains. "'Cause of Cancer' was about a friend's mother who had passed away from ovarian cancer. It was a really, really difficult thing to go through, so that song is actually dedicated to her."
Once again, Fell was faced with a huge delay of its latest CD. While Dale recovered and made new plans to release Lullabies in August of 2009, Wambeke couldn't sit around and wait; he wrote and recorded an entire album's worth of material. Titled A Farewell to Echoes and released on Wambeke's own Vacant Songs imprint, the record is technically the band's sophomore release — despite the fact that it was created after Lullabies. And while Wambeke promises Lullabies to be a relatively lighter affair, Echoes is a murky, edgy disc that dredges up jagged bits of melody and mnemonic flotsam.
"The album is pretty much a farewell to my twenties," declares Wambeke. "Knowing I was about to turn thirty, I decided to look back and write a record about my experiences during the last ten years. From 20 to 29, that's a fucking hard time of life. That's what the lyrics are all about. This is the very first album where I sat down and wrote lyrics that really meant something to me.
"The last song on there, 'A Farewell to Echoes,' is saying goodbye to my youth," he says. "I've had so many experiences — not just traumatic, but good and happy ones, as well. I've had to work hard for everything, and I just wanted to dedicate this album to that time of my life. I'm proud of A Farewell to Echoes, because it feels like a mature album to me; I don't feel so unsure. Now I feel like I have a better grasp on what I'm doing and the direction I want to head in."
Even if that direction means keeping the noise down after 10 p.m.