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Echo Us - Tomorrow Will Tell The Story CD (album) cover

TOMORROW WILL TELL THE STORY

Echo Us

 

Neo-Prog

3.41 | 15 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Enter another world

"Tomorrow Will Tell the Story" is the new album from Portland based Echo Us and unlike some of my colleagues, I found this to be a wonderful experience. There are so many projects out there which sound all the same to me, I feel like I've heard it all before. The worst are the mechanical efforts to be technically complex, I know after 30 seconds that I will never make it through their 75 minutes of "same old song and dance." On the other hand there occasionally is a project like this, which is unusual, intimate, and charming. It takes me to another place and I love that. Matthews talked about inspirations coming from trance and dream states and it certainly sounds the case.

The band is the brainchild of Ethan Matthews and on this album he is assisted by vocalist Henta and the harp of Raelyn Olson. The highly ambient and otherworldly electronic journey recalled for me Vespertine-era Bjork with the amazing touch Zeena Parkins' harp brought to those live Vespertine shows, along with the choirs and the beats of Matmos. It occasionally brought to mind certain tracks by French outfit Syd Matters as well (the more electronic, less folky ones). However don't think Bjork in terms of vocals here. Instead Henta and Matthews conceived an incredible concoction of ethereal vocals, choirs, samples and character parts which tell this elaborate story. Olson's harp works integrally with the keyboards and vocals to produce a stunning backdrop for the story. And Matthews is a very good guitarist, those parts being a nice grounding effect to counter some of the busier and more jarring sounds which occasionally bombard the listener. It's a great combination of the soothing and the provocative.

It is such a treat how the sound makes me feel like I'm swimming through some underwater ocean world, fish and other creatures swimming around, taking in the dialogue of the life forces around me. Swirling, layered voices and piano notes, swelling synths, beats and blurbs bounce all around with occasional celestial sounding vocals pulling the whole thing together. There is a heavy spiritual vibe to the proceedings (not in a heavy handed religious way) which adds to the richness of the music. Some complain about the "new age" feel which is just a label really. While this may not sound at all like typical "prog rock" why does it have to? It is a lighter piece when compared to contemporary rock bands but there is nothing fluffy about Tomorrow. It almost takes on the inspirational tone of people like Peter Gabriel and Mike Oldfield as it creates a musical/visual world around the listener, and when it works for you, there's nothing that beats that feeling of discovery.

A beautiful album and an exceptional one in my opinion, with an enigmatic sound and presence. Some prog fans will reject the approach of this album but I commend Matthews, Henta, and Olson for this work. (I heartily encourage anyone who likes this recording to watch Bjork's "Vespertine live at the Royal Opera Hourse" DVD. You won't regret it, especially if you love unique harp playing and sound which creates surroundings-see my review here for more details.)

Finnforest | 4/5 |

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