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Echolyn - Cowboy Poems Free CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.85 | 187 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars I must admit, this album came as quite a surprise.

"The End Is Beautiful" is my personal favorite from this band's repertoire. It's a good balance and blend of technical, proggy influences with good melodies and, honestly, some kinda catchy tunes ("Georgia Pine" at the top of that list), but I decided to head backwards into their catalog and find their first successful attempt at this unique sound, which at first I thought was "As The World", but I found it still had some stale "90's prog" sound to it. It just didn't sound unique or and original, and neither did it stand out from a traditional, technical prog standard with organ or blazing guitar solos or anything. It was actually a let down after such a promising opener in the title track.

However, I never thought I'd find myself enjoying "Cowboy Poems Free" as much as I am. Right away, "Texas Dust" and "Human Lottery" introduce both catchy tunes and unusual time signatures befitting of prog influenced bands. The rock organ keys just seem to have so much more life into them, a bit like classic Spock. Now this band starts to sound unique, original, kinda like the way Spock's Beard rose to prominence. They didn't bother with trying to sound like traditional prog, they focused on creating good tunes they were different, but also of the times.

Same goes with this album. "Grey Flannel Suits" honestly doesn't sound like a song written in 2000, or 1990 or even the 1970's for that matter. The occasional time signature changes, the rock organ driven sound, the catchy tunes. To me, if you focus on trying to create an original sound, chances are, you end up creating an original sound and interest in your band will grow more because your sound will stick out.

And this album has that, that special something previous albums didn't have. There are still those unique little items, proggy tidbits of sounds and noise and techniques that divert a bit from the mainstream, but you can also tell, especially from this album, that above all, these guys are just having fun making this music. There's no doubt they were also having fun making music before this album, but for the first time, I feel that here you can actually SENSE that they're having fun from the perspective of you, as the listener.

And of course, there's also an identity with most, if not all of these tracks. The "poems" interspersed may be merely interludes, but "High As Pride" really does come off as a genuine ballad of sorts. Every single song has a groove and direction taken that's easy for the listener to follow, unlike "As The World", where I really couldn't follow them at all.

It's no masterpiece, but in a general sense of catchy prog that's still faithful to the genre, this is definitely a surprise, and a staple of the Echolyn musical catalog.

Wicket | 4/5 |


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