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Echolyn - Mei CD (album) cover

MEI

Echolyn

 

Symphonic Prog

4.13 | 242 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Let's talk about Mei

Although nominally all one track, "Mei" is made up of a number of contiguous, and occasionally disconnected sections. There is certainly a diversity to the sounds and styles included here which make for a distinguished, perhaps unique listen.

There is a generally symphonic nature to the music, which I find at times to be at odds with the distinctive vocal sound and style of singer Ray Weston. His delivery is often jazz tinged and can appear improvisational, something which I personally find unappealing. Christopher Buzby and Brett Kull lay down some fine keyboards and guitar respectively, and during the instrumental passages there is an unquestionable fluidity to the music. The melodies of the vocal passages tend however to be unfocussed, and dare I say tuneless. This is especially the case on the angry sections.

Fortunately however, there are plenty of instrumental sections, often enhanced by the addition of strings, and when Buzby finally lets go with some soaring synth things take a decided turn for the better. His organ work too lays down the powerful basis on which the album is built.

Ironically, for a single piece of almost 50 minutes, the music is surprisingly accessible, with strong hooks, and driving rock rhythms. At around 34 minutes for example, the track effectively ends, restarting with a completely different and much softer acoustic piece. Here, the vocals too are far more melodic, even when the pace picks up again.

It is difficult to identify the peers of Echolyn, they have a unique place in prog. There are similarities with bands such as the Flower Kings, largely minus the jazz side of that band.

In all, a fine album, which grows with each listen. Could try harder in the vocal department though.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |

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