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Echolyn - The End Is Beautiful CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.89 | 233 ratings

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4 stars Echolyn are a band that I have come to love over time. I feel that they just get better with each successive album (although I do feel "Mei" is a masterpiece and therefore better than this album). Echolyn has a very unique sound that is hard to categorize. I would say that there is some passing similarity to Gentle Giant, although that influence to me is more apparent in their earlier work. What we have here is a collection of very quirky, fun songs that have hidden layers of complexity. I just have so much fun listening to their music because there is just an infectious groove to their music. I can't get enough of it.

The album begins with "Georgia Pine" which starts the album rocking hard. Gritty organ and heavy guitars driving this song along. It is really tons of fun to listen to. The fun doesn't stop there, though. "Heavy Blue Miles" is a song with an almost jazzy feel due to the inclusion of some horns. This song really showcases the groove I mentioned before. I just can't help but bop my head to this music. It is such a fun and funky song! I love it. There is even a bit of vocal interplay that they are well known for towards the end of the song. I just can't get enough of that, whether it come from Gentle Giant, Spock's Beard or here from Echolyn.

"Lovesick Morning" has a much more melancholy feel to it. I don't know why, but some of the vocal harmonies remind me of The Beatles. There is even some really cool trumpet played on this song. It has a groove as well, but it is laidback and has a feeling of sadness about it. It is really a great piece of music. The first time I heard this song, I'll admit I was bored by it, but now I see its brilliance and consider it one of the best tracks on the album. With "Make Me Sway" things get heavy again with crunchy guitars and gritty organ work. The vocal harmonies on the chorus are really wonderful and lift up this song to a whole new level.

The title track, "The End Is Beautiful" is a wonderful track. It is one of my favorites by this band. I love the different moods throughout the track. At the beginning, throughout the chorus, there is a more laidback, almost jazzy feel. There are moments of harder rock spread out through the track. This all leads to the majestic chorus, led to by a sublime guitar solo. It is hauntingly beautiful and complex. So, stunning and wonderful. It is beautiful indeed. "So Ready" is just extremely groovy fun. It starts off with some excellent vocal arrangements. There is just something so funky and cool about this song, I can't even describe it accurately. The horns and the guitar are especially awesome in this song and add to the funky feel of it all.

"The Arc Of Descent" is a darker song that has a very haunting feel to it. It still contains all the typical elements you would expect from Echolyn: complex arrangements, great vocal harmonies, and highly skillful playing of instruments. Even though this is probably the weakest track on the album in my opinion, it still has its charm. "Misery, Not Memory" is an excellent closer that starts off the gate rocking hard with some great guitar and organ. There is a lot of complexity on display here creating some fantastic sections of prog rock. There some incredibly jazzy sections that are just so much fun to listen to. There is even an ambient section in the middle of the song. Usually I'm not a fan of these, but here it is done well.

So, in conclusion, this album is an absolute blast to listen to. There are so many great moments throughout the album. The music has a great groove to it and is downright funky in spots. This band has truly crafted their own unique, original sound. They take some cues from Gentle Giant, but they are far removed from being a sound-alike. The music is creative, fun, energetic, and complex. All the elements necessary for an excellent album. It is just a hair short of being a 5-star album for me (I'm trying to reserve 5-star ratings to the truly special albums). So, I highly recommend this album to all prog fans.

natewait | 4/5 |


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