Io Echo's Ministry Of Love felt like the lovechild of Jesu and Zola Jesus — glossy, not-quite shoegaze and dark electro-pop with its sights set on massive stages. In the four years since that debut, Leopold Ross has worked with his (Oscar-winning) brother Atticus on several film scores, and Ioanna Gika has guested on tracks by TOKiMONSTA and The Drums. Along with producer Doc McKinney (The Weeknd), the L.A. duo returns with "Harm," carving out their own piece of neon gloom, inspired by painful circumstances.
"I was faced with a personal seismic shift," Gika writes in a press release. "Several of my immediate family members died, including my father and stepfather, and my long term relationship disintegrated. My remaining family moved from Southeast Asia back to Greece to find it in economic disrepair, while the U.S. slid towards political turmoil. I felt as though I was standing in the ocean in front of an inescapable wave. When there is no way out, no option, other than to brace yourself and let it hit and flow through you with its unstoppable tide. 'Harm' was written during this time, and reflects the emotions and clarity that can come from facing a destructive situation head on."
"I'm coming up / Realizing you believe / You can never do enough harm to me," Gika sings in a swarm of synths and guitars that could exist in the dankest of Goth raves or the most syrupy of pop songs.
She directs the glitchy video for "Harm," shot on her phone, which features an octopus wrapping its tentacles around Gika's neck. The duo is hard at work on its sophomore record, but "Harm" is an indicator that time away gave Io Echo space to root around its darkest edges.