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Echolyn - The End Is Beautiful CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.89 | 237 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Squire Jaco
4 stars I'm always more than a little suspicious when a reviewer says, "You have to listen to this cd a few times before you like it." It usually means that they needed time to convince themselves that they did not make a sub-par purchase, so watch out for th those cd's as a general rule.

And yet, I think it's a testament to the complexity and multi-textured quality of Echolyn's unique brand of progressive music that each album DOES sound better every time you put it on. Personally, I've liked every Echolyn cd I ever heard on the first listen; their music always contains enough melodic hooks, tight musicianship, and thought-provoking lyrics to give you the first impression that the cd is pretty good. But subsequent spins reveal the genius and cleverness that only true masters can produce.

"The End Is Beautiful" continues the diverse catalog of published music that Echolyn has graced us with for almost 30 years. This time it's not the 1970's retro-prog of "As The World", or the Americana folk-prog of "Cowboy Poems Free" (still my favorite!), or the contemplative symphonic prog of "Mei". This most recent effort is darker, somewhat heavier, sometimes even "urban"-sounding, with a more raw "live in the studio" feel to it, confidently driven along by the up-front drumming of Paul Ramsey. Their caustic lyrics of abuse, regret, death and despair on this cd make the musings of the late Kevin Gilbert and Shaun Guerin sound almost cheerful!

But don't get the idea that this is dark prog like Anekdoten or Tool or the like. You can still count on the melancholy love songs (albeit with UNhappy endings!) sung beautifully by Brett Kull and Ray Weston. Some of the great vocal harmonies and major chord progressions that occur in the refrains sort of contradict the unkind lyrics they're singing. And Chris Buzby gives the darker subject matter some welcome light with his typically inventive keyboard touches that accompany his heavier use of Hammond organ throughout this cd. There's even some small brass band sounds that creep in on some of the tunes - cool and different!

I love the second-guessing refrain in "Heavy Blue Miles" ("It's O.K., I'm not O.K..."), the sweeter songs "Lovesick Morning" and "Arc of Descent", and the great instrumental sections of "Make Me Sway" and "Misery Not Memory".

This is a great rock album in the progressive genre - "progressive" both in the choice of instrumentation as well as in the way new ground is broken. It's time to admit that Echolyn's songwriting is clearly some of the best in the world today, and combined with their virtuosity, it sets them apart as one of the premier progressive rock bands around.

The end might be beautiful, but this part of the Echolyn journey is pretty awesome too.....Give it a spin.

4-1/2 stars

Squire Jaco | 4/5 |


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