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Echolyn - Mei CD (album) cover

MEI

Echolyn

 

Symphonic Prog

4.13 | 244 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Tony R
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars With Echolyn's "Mei" we are taken along on a musical journey,which echoes the twists and turns of the highway and reflects the changing landscape and the mood of the "pilgrim". Brimming with metaphor (the path to enlightenment,love and loss) the album can be seen as a single 50 minute piece or 9 shorter vignettes-that is; one long journey of discovery or 9 episodes that complete the whole.However such is the skill of the composers that the themes float in and out and the symphonic feel to the album makes the 50 minutes fly by.Whilst the biographic blurb mentions Dante and Kerouac,it is the sweeping epic works of author John Dos Passos and composer Philip Glass that spring most readily to my mind.

The piece starts with an almost pastoral feel (in fact,I find echoes of Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony in the mood of the piece) interrupted by some of the most poignant lyrics I have ever heard:

"We share more than the end A tragic blend of cocktails with a kiss My love grows anxious Waiting for the cure - picking sores We were careless To be taken by such misery That tastes of violence - the saints are silent God won't perform here anymore"

And away we go on a roller-coaster ride of angst-ridden,bombastic pieces interspersed with more delicate,introspective interludes. Musically, this is their most diverse album to date,featuring guest performers playing an assortment of woodwind,percussion and strings.I hear Gentle Giant,but not as prominent as in previous albums-this is a band at the height of its powers and less self-conscious of its influences. GSYBE,ELP,Yes and Genesis seem to prick the edges of my subconscious when I listen,but musically this is as strong and diverse as any of those. This is modern progressive rock at it's best;symphonic but street-wise,arty but accessible.That's not to say it is aimed at any commercial market-when I say "accessible" I mean relatively for a single piece of 50 minutes length! Is it a masterpiece of Progressive rock? Maybe,maybe not (very close) but it deserves your full attention.

Tony R | 4/5 |

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