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    Main » 2010 » April » 24 » Echolyn - 1995 - As The World
    Echolyn - 1995 - As The World

    Echolyn - 1995 - As The World Style: prog
    Country: us
    Audio: lossless (wavpack 947k, Cue, Log, Scans , Embedded)
    Size: 420mb

    Echolyn is a five piece from Pennsylvania, whose sound is direct, tightly arranged and colorful. The lyrics take a prominent role, delivered with feeling and plenty of raw emotional content. Their sound is layered and complex, but not overly busy. The "Mellotron" sound is used generously, but the overall sound has more variety than usual and tends to be a little more experimental. Of their first album: Quite impressive is the album opener "Fountainhead," a very experimental collage type piece that leads into the first full length track "The Great Men," a thought provoking track about idealism and human nature. The balance of the album is equally exceptional. A second album has just been released Suffocating The Bloom, it's even more powerful than the first, with the band showing more musical maturity all around. Echolyn represents the lighter side of progressive music: the Yes/Marillion influence, catchy tunes, repetitive choruses, mainstream style ... the list goes on. But I cannot deny that they are good musicians, the writing is solid, and that I like them. They take the style of Kansas (group voicings, power chords, overlaid keyboards) and make progressive rock out of it. Throw in some counterpoint, a busy rhythm section, and thoughtful, introspective lyrics, and you've got Echolyn. The band strides the fine line between neo-prog and progressive and somehow manages to capture the best of both worlds. While completely accessible to the average listener, *and* to anyone who isn't into progressive rock, they have enough going on to keep the attention of people like myself who need a little dissonance and/or complexity to stay awake. Prediction time: Echolyn is going to be big. Real big. They have all the tools to blow this brand of lite-progressive into the mainstream. But are they representative of the strongest aspects of the genre? Over time, they will achieve popularity, but only expose a small corner of what progressive music is and can be. Any attention brought to the genre will be lost on bands like Xaal, Deux ex Machina, and others that equal if not eclipse Echolyn in potential. Suffocating The Bloom contains a lot of variation, but it is well contructed, like a really good concept album. I don't particularly like the singer's tone of voice, but it's OK, and he more than makes up for it with his convincing delivery of some good lyrics. There are plently great sections of music in this CD. This contains my favourite drummer of these 5: his drums have been tuned to make maximum excitement in fills, and he uses his china cymbal really well. One thing I don't like, especially on first listen, is the start of the album, in which the guitar player sounds very amateurish, although he later proves he's not. Mind you, it's amateurish in the same way that I think Steve Howe sounds amateurish in some bits of Asia! Overall, a very good album, although I can't listen to it lots of times in a row. Compared to the previous albums, as the world is a much better recording. With as the world, they build upon the sound they established on their earlier albums where the music is characterized by a complex interplay of each instrument, then overlayed with thick vocal harmonies. Their composition does not follow the classic jazz format where one instrument breaks off for a solo before returning to the theme, but rather they adhere to the philosophy that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Each instrument does something different and plays an integral role in producing the finished sound. They have strong progressive tendencies as evidenced by the rapid time signature changes, which bring to mind parts of Gentle Giant and Happy the Man, however I would not classify them as neo-progressive since they sound nothing like Marillion, IQ, or that genre. They have jazz overtones, a tiny bit of folk, and some classical moments. The vocal harmonies, which are one of the strengths of Echolyn, remind me of Steely Dan, especially in the types of chords used. Their lyrics are thoughtful, but not really deep. However, they're not cryptic either, which I find a plus. Overall, as the world is a very mature effort containing a good balance of songs: some with pretty melodies, some with discord, and most with comlex and shifting rythms. As such it may appeal to a variety of listeners, but by the same token there will probably be parts that each listener may not particularly like. My experience is that the album gets better with every listen as I hear new things and gain greater appreciation for where the music is headed. Because of this Echolyn has become one of my favorite bands. Unfortunately, the latest news is that they've broken up. It looks like another talented band falls by the wayside. -- Doug Hobbs These five American musicians present the usual lineup with vocals, guitars, keyboards, bass and drums. Flutes and strings are used in some of the acoustic parts. The compositions on Suffocating the Bloom and As the World are based on introspective lyrics but never neglect the instrumental aspect of the music. The clever interaction between the voices and the other instruments introduces elements of complexity to this otherwise very accessible music. They actually pull-off an excellent fusion of the best elements from numerous influences. -- Paul Charbonneau
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