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Echolyn Echolyn album cover
4.03 | 560 ratings | 24 reviews | 38% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2012

Songs / Tracks Listing

Disc 1 (36:43)
1. Island (16:38)
2. Headright (3:00)
3. Locust to Bethlehem (5:11)
4. Some Memorial (11:54)

Disc 2 (34:04)
5. Past Gravity (7:11)
6. When Sunday Spills (8:48)
7. (Speaking In) Lampblack (10:45)
8. The Cardinal and I (7:20)

Total Time 70:47

Line-up / Musicians

- Raymond Weston / lead (1-4,6-8) & backing vocals, guitar (5,8), bass (3,4,7), sampler (7)
- Brett Kull / electric, lap steel & acoustic guitars, banjo (6), lead (5) & backing vocals
- Christopher Buzby / piano, organ, synth, Wurlitzer, Rhodes, glockenspiel, toy piano, backing vocals, string & saxophone arrangements
- Thomas Hyatt / bass, electric & acoustic guitars (3,4,7), backing vocals
- Paul Ramsey / drums & percussion, backing vocals

- Nina Beate / violin
- Kaveh Saidi / violin
- Lori Saidi / viola
- Rajli Bicolli / cello
- Mark Gallagher / baritone saxophone (3)
- Jacque Varsalona / backing vocals (1,3,7,8)
- Michael Ostrich / backing vocals (3,4)
- Andrew Miller / backing vocals (3)

Releases information

Artwork: Jacque Varsalona and William Schwartz

2LP Plane Groovy ‎- PLG003 (2012, UK)

2CD Self-released (2012, US)

Thanks to jonnyfrostbite for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy ECHOLYN Echolyn Music

ECHOLYN Echolyn ratings distribution

(560 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(38%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(37%)
Good, but non-essential (17%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

ECHOLYN Echolyn reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Echolyn have brought us an octet of stellar sonic craftsmanship. There is a mellow maturity present throughout this experience. Musically and thematically, it is an emulsion of Mei and The End is Beautiful, an enchanting exploration of the breadth of human emotion. Oddly, this is the band's second eponymous album. Had the band asked me, I would have suggested the title "Ghosts" (or some derivation thereof), since that word is mentioned multiple times and in different contexts throughout, and some of the music and themes presented here are simply haunting. Echolytes know what to expect from this quintet, and they delivered eight times over. Well done gentlemen.

"Island" Beginning with a stark electric guitar, Echolyn guides the listener through fresh symphonic landscapes, with shifting rhythms and dynamic phrases seamlessly woven together. The closest comparison I could draw is "The Pinnacle" by Kansas, which is a feast of variations and musical textures that somehow remains consistent and purposeful. Over Tom Hyatt's sputtering bass line, Ray Weston's voice enters like an old friend, and the harmonic vocal bends are perfect. Each instrumental passage is a blending of lead instruments that complement one another, although Paul Ramsey sneaks a couple of well-executed drum solos in there. As always, Chris Buzby provides a colorful palette of keyboard sounds. As the piece winds down, Brett Kull's raspy yet gentle voice sings yet another remarkable melody that eventually leads to an uplifting climax.

"Headright" More than anything, this song is a happy-sounding tune with handsome harmonies and a swift rhythm. Echolyn could take what is, on its face, a simple cheerful song and make it a stunning three minutes. And yet, despite that happiness, there is a nostalgia or lingering sadness hiding under it. At the risk of misinterpreting the poetic lyrics, "She's a spring that turns into a river, a single dandelion turning a dirt yard into a yellow sea" make me think of my daughter. I hope I don't leave her alone.

"Locust to Bethlehem" Echolyn sinks into country and blues here. While the title sounds biblical, Locust and Bethlehem are cities in Pennsylvania, about two hundred and sixty miles apart, and the lyrics seem to describe a sense of misplaced homesickness, a romanticizing of the unpleasant perhaps.

"Some Memorial" The grittiest song on the album, both in terms of the initial electric guitar and the lyrics, has quiet acoustic verses making observations on death. The melodies take sharp but appropriate twists, making use of Weston's range of emotion. This is, to me, a pessimistic or sarcastic take on William Cullen Bryant's "Thanatopsis." It feels like a thematic reversal of the uplifting, spiritual conclusion to As the World, although it specifically targets those who medicate themselves out of existence. The music ranges from hard symphonic rock to pared down mellowness.

"Past Gravity" It might not be an Echolyn album without Kull and his fingerpicked acoustic guitar. Soon the band returns to bluesy countrified mellifluousness. The flatted fifth in the chorus is fantastic; it's amazing how a single note can add so much character. Buzby's piano interjections add an ethereal, mysterious charm, and Kull's guitar twang just sings.

"When Sunday Spills" Driving through the bitter and repentant territory that was The End is Beautiful, Echolyn fuses mental angst, disease, domestic violence, drugs, alcohol, and resentment with an inspirational exhortation: "Don't give another day to this." The opening and ending of the track are simply harrowing: Audio of an actual domestic dispute (Weston's neighbors, I am told). Most disturbing is the woman's cry "I want to go to bed!" I wish I could say my wife and I have not had nights kind of like that, but I can't. Yet we love each other more than our shortcomings and frustrations, and the next morning is usually beautiful because we're trying really hard. Expect stunning melodies and harmonies, slick slide guitar, and gentle piano extensions.

"Speaking in Lampblack" With distant vocals, the eerie beginning of "Speaking in Lampblack" is quite similar to Porcupine Tree. It deviates from that with the addition of strings and Buzby's delicate piano. There is a sadness and stark beauty here. This song surprises me each time though, because halfway through, it becomes something the Electric Light Orchestra might have done, with stirring strings, stunning falsetto, and striking melodies.

"The Cardinal and I" I had initially thought this song would be a profound observation on religion, but the opening line says "I saw a cardinal and wanted it to change my life, but it's just a bird." So it's about a bird; how profound could it be? Quite, actually. The music that opens it is jarringly different from the rest of the album. The vocal passages are low key, but Weston's vocal interludes reach the pleading grandeur of his performance on "One Voice."

Review by Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars It's been a long wait; seven years to be precise, but here at last is the new album from Echolyn. Is this eponymous album worth the wait? Absolutely! In fact I'd go as far to say that this is the bands best release to date. It's a 2 disc set, obviously done to split the album into two halves as it could easily fit onto a single disc, each disc containing 4 tracks apiece.

The 16 minute Island kicks things off in fine style with a typical Echolyn instrumental workout of well over 3 minutes, twisting and turning through a myriad of changes before settling down into the vocals. This is not typical of the album as a whole - overall it's less complex (on an instrumental level at least) with fewer jaw dropping instrumental sections than earlier releases like As The World for example. Echolyn obviously feel they no longer need to show off their virtuoso prowess as frequently, though as the opening shows, they clearly still have it. Instead the strength of this record is the fantastic melodies. They're not immediate, but repeated plays bring them to the surface. They can be subtle and complex, taking the listener into unexpected places as they build and develop before shooting off at a tangent to a new high.

Whilst Island is the best of the bunch, it rarely dips in quality with Some Memorial a close second and whilst the second disc is in generally more laid back territory it still possesses power with some stunning melodies like the sublime Past Gravity. Don't get the idea though that Echolyn lacks the great playing of the past; it's still here and the band play brilliantly and it all sounds fantastic, it's just not the priority.

If there's a past album to draw parallels with I'd say it's Mei. Here they also make use of a string section, as they have done previously, particularly Mei. But it's more than that; there's a vibe and feel here that brings to mind that excellent album.

Well worth the wait then, Echolyn have released the best album of the year so far. Hopefully we won't have to wait another seven years for the follow up. Simply stunning!

Review by Warthur
3 stars Ooh, I don't know guys. For some reason echolyn's new album leaves me rather cold. For starters, the division of the physical product into two CDs when the running time could easily fit onto one seems an odd decision to me. Cynics might accuse the band of wanting to sell the album for the price of a 2CD set but only providing 1CD of music, but given that you can listen to the whole thing on Bandcamp for free if you're frugally minded I think that they deserve the benefit of the doubt on that front. I suspect it's more that they want the CD experience to be, on a tactile level, comparable to the LP experience, and to create a definite break midway through the album.

I do have to wonder about that. It seems to me like the action of a band who aren't wholly convince their new opus can hold the listener's attention for a full 71 minutes... in which case why not edit it down? The fact is, there's a few too many diversions into flabby, cheesy, Spock's Beardy filler for my tastes here. It's genuinely surprising for an echolyn album to make so little impression on me, musically speaking; as it is, the album comes across as a competent going through the retro-prog motions without really doing anything especially eye-opening. In fact, the eccentric choice regarding splitting the album to two CDs is more or less the only thing here which I could describe as out of the ordinary.

In the end, it's nice to have them back but I think Anglagard have the better comeback album of 2012. (Apparently echolyn hadn't gone on hiatus at all since their last studio album, though I think if over half a decade passes since your band's most recent release I think people can be forgiven for thinking otherwise.)

Review by The Truth
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars An absolute return to form for a band who already had great form, in a sense, an absolute masterpiece of progressive music.

Whether you're new or not to Echolyn, this record is right up there in the best of the year category, being quite possibly the best record they've ever released, right up there with the stunning mei and Cowboy Poems Free. An album with tracks that have no obvious weak point, this self-titled album takes the listener on an emotional journey that's even more complex and elaborate than the other trips Echolyn has given its listeners in the past ten years.

Echolyn's brand of music, symphonic awesomeness with no clear cut influences but hints of Kansas and Gentle Giant has always been extremely consistent but this is about the most amazing the band has ever been combining excellent musicianship with excellent song craft. It's easy to see why fellow reviewer, Epignosis likes them because it's right up his alley and his reviews are perhaps the most insightful when it comes to Echolyn, a band he understands completely and loves to death.

It's a record with twists and turns like a roller coaster and it makes your heart sink and rise and do all kinds of things. It's a record any fan of prog can admire because of how many levels of emotion it peels it's way through in its listening.

A five-star prog record in the purest sense, they just don't make them like this anymore.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars Well I do consider myself an ECHOLYN fan and was very much looking forward to this along with the new RUSH, MAGMA and ANGLAGARD which have all been released fairly close to one another. Life is good right ? Anyway I love ECHOLYN's debut along with "Suffocating The Bloom" , "Cowboy Poems Free" and "The End Is Beautiful". Maybe it's odd that "As The World" and "Mei" do nothing for me. This latest one at least does something for me, in fact I really like 3 of the 8 tracks here. Of course it doesn't take a mathematician to figure out that that doesn't translate into a winner for yours truly. I like that they made it two discs even though it all could have went on one. Kind of a nod to us guys who used to or do listen to vinyl. The song-writing is as usual A+ which is why I don't understand why they didn't add the lyrics to the liner notes. All this aside the music is what matters most to me and to my ears it's lacking. There's so much mellow music with the focus more on the lyrics which reminds me of how most concept albums are (this isn't one) and why I usually don't like them.

"Island" is clearly a top three. This might be getting close to 17 minutes but man the time flies by. I like the aggressive and uptempo start and the guitar before 3 minutes. It then settles with vocals but not for long. Nice chunky bass too. It settles back 7 1/2 minutes in with reserved vocals then kicks back in before 10 1/2 minutes. A calm a minute later then it builds. Just a great track that will go down as one of their best. "Headright" is a short upbeat and energetic tune with clapping, a beat, vocals and more. It's okay. "Locust To Bethleham" is laid back early with vocals but it does become mid-paced then settles back again. Strings in this one too. I like the lyrics but overall i'm not sold. "Some Memorial" has a fairly heavy intro with drums, organ and more. It settles a minute in and the vocals join in. The tempo will continue to shift. Nice guitar before 9 1/2 minutes then a calm after 11 minutes to end it.

Disc two starts with "Past Gravity" which opens with tender vocals and gentle sounds. It builds some until we get a full sound before 3 minutes and even fuller 3 1/2 minutes in. It's brief though as it settles back. An uplifting section comes in after 5 1/2 minutes then it settles back again. "When Sunday Spills" is about domestic violence and is therefore quite emotional with the samples of the victim screaming and yelling and so on. "Speaking In Lampblack" is a top three. Processed vocals eventually become normal as we get strings and piano helping out. This reminds me of latter day ANATHEMA. So yes I like it. It picks up before 5 minutes with a beat. A fuller sound before 8 minutes. This is good as strings and vocals continue. "The Cardinal And I' ends it and this is my final top three. This is more like it instrumentally as it kicks in quickly with organ and some heaviness. A guitar solo 1 1/2 minutes in too. It does settle with reserved vocals but I love the heaviness after 6 minutes. The lyrics are once again so well done.

So i'm disappointed after all the hype but i'll continue to enjoy my four favourite albums from them. This one, not so much.

Review by rdtprog
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Heavy / RPI / Symphonic Prog Team
4 stars It took me three spins of that CD to get pass my initial deception. When i decided to stop making comparison to the excellent MEI, i finally listened to the music with a open mind to let the music reveal itself. I think i was disturbed by the passage to the first track who was to me a pure joy to listen, to the next tracks who where very different. I was expecting another progressive masterpiece like MEI and was offer, instead a collection of songs of different moods. So i will do a track by track for a change.

"Island" : We have all the trade mark of the band here, with multiple part vocals, delicate instrumental breaks. This is a great start that continue where MEI as ended.

"Headright" : Opposite style of song, short and simple

"Locust To Bethlehem" : Starts like a country song with the guitar but it mixed up with classical arrangements and violin. Nice interplay between some delicate instrumentation and the vocals.

"Some Memorial" : A lot of use of piano in this song that built his momentum slowly to a up tempo beat in the second part.

"Past Gravity" : Starts slowly and peacefully with piano and vocals and finishing in a more energetic rock sound.

"When Sunday spills" : Another song in two parts, the first one more laid back and the second gets heavier.

"Speaking In Lampblack" : Starts in a post-rock atmosphere with emotional vocals and the music in the background. The second part shows a return to the symphonic sound where all instruments are driving together in harmony.

"The Cardinal and I" : The progressive side of the first track in back, with more instrumental breaks, the delicate sound of the music is temper with some heavy passages. This is probably the closest track to the old Echolyn's sound.

In conclusion, i enjoyed this CD more in my latest listening, that's why i did the review, because i don't usually do reviews of music that i don't enjoy. The band decided to put in one CD, all the different type of songs they did in the past, and in the end, the result is that we have another winner for Echolyn's fans.

Review by Conor Fynes
5 stars 'echolyn' - Echolyn (9/10)

Call it 'symphonic prog' or whatever you want; the classic style of progressive rock is alive and well. There was once a point where I felt it was nothing but a playground for the dinosaurs and those tribute acts that loved them, and it's a good thing I've since changed my mind. This is not to say that a band like Echolyn and their long-awaited eighth album don't have a lot in common with the progressive innovators of the early seventies, but there is a distinctly modern, up-to-date approach these Americans take with their music. Petty stylistic contexts aside, you're not bound to find too many albums with the same kind of emotional intensity as this. Fusing the new with the old, Echolyn manage to hit a sweet spot, balancing technical chops with tenderness and intimacy. It's near perfection, really, and it's simply one of the essential prog experiences of the year.

Although I have long known of Echolyn's influence and respect in the US prog scene, I hadn't checked them out before this. On what I know however, I understand that their album "Mei" is considered something of a modern-day classic. If that's indeed the case, then I'm having a difficult time seeing how "echolyn" (with the lower-case, yes) could be one-upped. Although this music could have fit onto a single disc, Echolyn have divided this into two halves; too parts of the same journey. In a similar sense to what Kansas did, this is very vocal-driven prog. The instrumentation flirts plenty with complex time signatures and skill- testing arrangements, but a listener going into this expecting something of a purely cerebral nature will be blown away, much as I was. "echolyn" is a journey into the heart moreso than the mind, but there is still an excellent standard of musicianship kept up throughout the entire record.

Ray Weston's vocals are one of Echolyn's greatest signatures. There are times when he reminds me of a ballsier version of Marillion's Steve Hogarth, but the truth is that his vocals are best described in terms of warmth. His voice is one that could mesh well in both an intimate coffee shop environment and a more energetic rock venue. His range is impressive, but he never once feels like he's 'forcing' a note in order to be flashy. Although it's never entirely overt, much of his performance is layered with lush harmonies, the likes of which become incredibly reminiscent of Crosby, Stills & Nash. Pair this with some gorgeously poetic and metaphorical lyrics, and you have the sort of vocal performance that dreams are made of.

Many of the vocal melodies and harmonies sound like they could have been written in a late sixties, and the instrumentation is a fitting contrast. The musical foundation here certainly rests on the innovations of the 'classic' symphonic proggers, but Echolyn distinguish themselves for their modernization of the sound. I would never have expected it, but there is a decided sense of post-rock texture and ambiance built into the tapestry. Soft guitar ambiance and accent-chimes recall Sigur Ros, although the biggest modern comparison I could draw would be Porcupine Tree. Given my belief that Porcupine Tree is among the greatest acts of the new millennium, this is a big compliment; the spacious production and diverse instrumentation gives the impression of something rich and relevant to the current progressive rock scene. Most of these songs rest around the ten minute mark, and Echolyn manages to make each interesting and rich, although the driven "Headright", wonderfully poetic "Some Memorial", and emotionally gut-wrenching "Lampblack" account for my favourite cuts.

In short, it's wonderful, it's lovely, it's like falling in love with progressive rock all over again. They don't sound a world apart from what has come before in symphonic prog, but I can see this being an album that will only grow with time. Hats are off to Echolyn for another masterpiece!

Review by ProgShine
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars New ECHOLYN album, I confess that I know very little about the band, I do know their classic album Mei (2002) and I like a lot their second one Suffocating The Bloom (1992). But my knowledge of this American band pretty much ends here.

I've been following reviews lately for most of known bands, and this one has divided opinions. Maybe that's why I would avoid the album a bit. Echolyn (2012) was released in June and it's their first record in 7 years, pretty much the fans thought the band was dead. Maybe they had decided to break and felt that was not the right decision, I don't know. Maybe some techincal difficulties, cause it seems the album has being recorded since 2007.

When it comes to the packaging in Echolyn (2012) I have to say that I really don't like it and don't understand the band's decision of a double album when it could be easily fitted into a single CD. The LP edition would be double anyway they didn't need to do the same on the CD, the price is likely to go higher that way, for everyone. Anyway, 70 minutes is always too much for me, I don't like long albums and prefer the old school 45/50 minutes of music. Maybe the intention was to impress, because double albums always impress...

Talking about the music, when the album begans I felt SPOCK's BEARD, especially in the synths riffs, but was just a small impression, I liked the general feeling of the keyboards that Chris Buzby delivers, lots of sounds going on and I like it. Another good point in the album: Tom Hyatt bass in the first track. I just love this kind of sound he has got, unfortunatelly isn't like that on the whole album. As soon as Ray Weston starts to sing you notice the personality of the band, then you can actually 'see' ECHOLYN and the melodies are beautiful most of the time.

Have to say that 'Headright', the second track, sounds to me as a unfinished piece of music, when it's coming to the best bit and you're now excited about, it's gone, I actually had to listen to it twice and try to understand. Weird.

The disc 1 ends pretty well but I can't say that's the most amazing album I've heard this year yet.

Soon after the first track of the second disc started I realized that is already too 'slow' for me, pretty much the band is playing a lot of ballads on Echolyn (2012), and it makes me a bit bothered. They are pretty and nice, but too much of them, not what I was expecting. Tough the final part of 'When Sunday Spills'is energetic the following tracks '(Speaking in) Lampblack' is even more calm and laid back, with String quartet and all, at this time I'm already tired of the album. Just at the final track they have a bit more 'rocking' going on, but maybe it's a bit late to me.

Speaking in general, Echolyn (2012) is a good album, but for me lacks unity, is a bit long, and like I said, too melow. The key tracks are the, strategically placed, the first 'Island' and the last 'The Cardinal And I. This is the ECHOLYN I like.

3.5 stars

Review by J-Man
5 stars After a roughly seven year wait since The End Is Beautiful, my expectations for the eighth Echolyn album were pretty high. This American quintet has been crafting top-notch prog rock for many years now, and after such a long break, one would only imagine that the band has returned more inspired than ever - and this imagining would be correct. Echolyn's 2012 eponymous observation shows the band at a creative height that has effected one of the year's finest masterworks. A virtually perfect album in all regards, Echolyn is one of the must-hear progressive rock experiences of 2012.

Some of the earlier Echolyn outings like Suffocating the Bloom and As The World were frequently noted as sounding like an updated, more melodic version of classic Gentle Giant, but the band's newer releases have moved in a much more symphonic direction. Beginning with the sprawling 49 minute epic masterpiece that was Mei - a choice in songwriting that was certainly never attempted by Gentle Giant - Echolyn moved in a direction that was more symphonic and melodic than some of their earlier works. 2012's Echolyn shows the band coming full circle as a melodic symphonic prog act, but they have (fortunately) not sacrificed what made them so special in the first place. Echolyn is still as instrumentally capable as ever (just listen to the opening of "Island" if you're unsure of this) and the vocal harmonies are pure bliss, but truly moving melodies have been incorporated into their sound more than ever before. While I've considered Echolyn among the elite modern prog acts long before this album was even rumored, the flawless mix of technical prowess and breathtaking melody showcased here makes it a serious contender for the band's finest outing thus far.

It's also worth noting that Echolyn sounds more 'retro' than any of the act's previous albums, to my ears at least - Chris Buzby's choice in keyboard tones stays within the palette available to players in the seventies', with most of the keyboards being presented in the form of piano, organ, mellotron, and analog-sounding synthesizers (think something that Tony Banks would've used on A Trick of the Tail). The warm and organic production also gives the album a bit of a retro flavor, but the real treat here is in the music. Compositionally, this observation treats the listener with some of the best that modern prog has to offer. Many of the songs linger around the ten minute mark, with "Island" being the longest and most traditionally 'progressive' of all the tunes; the challenging opening sequence and frequent time and key changes make this energetic track a perfect way to open up the album. The excellent melodies in "Headright" and the tremendously beautiful "Speaking in Lampblack" (which may be the most emotionally moving song I've heard all year) are probably the most unorthodox songs here by Echolyn's standards, though both fit perfectly in the context of the album. "Some Memorial" and "When Sunday Spills" are also favorites of mine, although the reality is that I've yet to find a substantial fault in this observation - this is simply a monumental effort from Echolyn on all fronts.

This album served as my soundtrack for most of the summer and fall of 2012, and even though I've heard a lot of other excellent albums this year, I still find myself returning to this one time and time again in December. Ray Weston, Brett Kull, Chris Buzby, Paul Ramsey, and Tom Hyatt are musicians of the highest caliber, and this observation's seamless blend of old and new ideas results in a listen that doesn't lose its shine even after dozens of spins. Echolyn is the sort of album that should be taken as a 'modern classic' - an observation that, if there is any justice in this world, should be looked back on decades from now as one of the the definitive prog albums of its era and a true masterpiece in every sense of the word.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
2 stars This heavily praised album is, for me, missing the grit, life, and grist of other echolyn albums. It is a collection of homogenized skim milk. It is simple, thin, watered down prog, albeit pleasant but lacking substance, lacking warmth. It's like kissing your sister, like a fourth place finish at the Olympics, like the taste of artichoke without butter. The first song takes six and a half minutes to hook you in and then just teases you until the final two minutes (which are, I must admit, sublime). My favorite two songs, "Past Gravity" (7:10) (9/10) and "Speaking in Lampblack" (10:45) (8/10) are both pleasant, rather laid back, kind of STEELY DAN/BILLY JOEL-like mainstream-friendly compositions. The album's final two minutes of barbershop fun make me wonder if the band has any more left to give--kind of a feeling I get through this entire listening experience: life is hard, maybe it's time to die.
Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Echolyn's self titled album is certainly an emotional ride with some pleasant vocals from Weston masking out the more harrowing aspects of the themes within. The music is replete with proggy time sigs, such as the bright melodic 'Island' epic clocking almost 17 minutes. There are some amazing dextrous instrumental passages on the album and an overall atmosphere of hope among all the bleaker moments.

One particular shock moment comes at the intro of 'When Sunday Spills' as we hear an actual domestic dispute that may have escalated into violence. At first I thought I was listening to ravings from an asylum between people with dementia, but then a lady screams "I want to go to bed" sounding as though locked out of her house. Apparently Weston actually tape recorded a real dispute with his neighbours, making this all the more gut wrenching to listen to. The end of the song sees the return of the troubled couple and this time the man is screaming his lungs raw to his wife about how she shut the door. The lyrics are provocative; "Always over her shoulder, afraid in her own home, You keep and grow your own garden, and I've seen you drink, You know it's not a very pretty sight, So don't give another day to this."

The mood is melancholy as we hear about this marriage under destruction; "The language you use leaves no doubt your marriage is dead, She screams, "Wife beater!" Why? But, no one's really sure, You know we've heard so many hurtful things." These are the types of songs that can provoke change if people listen and certainly Echolyn hits the nail on the head capturing that feeling of emptiness and despair when domestic violence occurs.

Staring at the album cover I get the feeling its all about loss and locking out emotions or being locked out like the lady screaming "I want to go to bed!" The lyrics of '(Speaking in) Lampblack' may also be a clue as to the meaning of the enigmatic cover; "There's a sound of a million voices right beside a window view, And the pulse of the static drumming slips down past, unaware, But she remembers the moon tonight, when everything turns around all right, There was something she wanted to say, In the trails of the lampblack burning is just smoke that stains the walls, And she recalls the breaking of patterns, and the spells that once were real and held so true."

Overall Echolyn have a very powerful selection of songs that speak of the world in it's corruptible state. The music is dreamy, with layers of keyboards and some aggressive guitars, so well executed, with infectious melodies that wash over beautifully with relaxing tranquil atmospheres. Not as incredible as "Mei", but this is one of Echolyn's best and comes highly recommended as a great example of high quality Symphonic Prog.

Review by Wicket
3 stars More of the same.

And frankly, when you're talking about a band that consistently produces good tunes and happy songs, that's never such a bad thing, is it?

It's still filled with good tunes and great jams, as "Islands" and "Headright" will attest to, but interesting surprises abound, such as "Locust To Bethlehem", which a slower, more lyrical and methodical piece, but not a ballad at all. Syncopated beats here and quick time signature changes there and lilting strings in the background, and it's all typical Echolyn.

"Some Memorial" also mixes things up a bit, throws in a lot of stutter-step beats and there's almost a slight echo of Glass Hammer and even Crosby, Stills and Nash here and there.It's not bad, but it's a bit too juttery for me. Also not for me is "Past Gravity", a 7 minute long ballad that, while nice, is a bit too long. Takes too long to get going, and then when it finally gets off the ground, I'm bored already.

VERDICT: It's a decent release, this self-titled work. Not my favorite, but there are some hits (mainly "Islands" and "Headright"). Overall, it's a much more tame album, certainly much more than "The End Is Beautiful", and also much more lyrically focused. Songs like "When Sunday Spills" and "Speaking In Lampblack" are tame, emotional efforts. More relaxing than the more technical "The End Is Beautiful" but also not as catchy and "jump right in" as "Mei" or "Cowboy Poems Free". In the end, it's a much more emotional release, with beautiful cascading string melodies and choral harmonies. Still a great album, it's just not immediately gripping or engaging to all who listen.

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5 stars Echolyn decided to have their 2012 album be self-titled. The confusing thing about that is their debut album is also eponymous. Despite the confusion, I think 'Echolyn' is a fitting title for this album, as it captures the essence of what Echolyn is as a band in one, perfect album. 'Echolyn' would i ... (read more)

Report this review (#2982705) | Posted by Magog2112 | Sunday, January 14, 2024 | Review Permanlink

2 stars As tasty as distilled water and as interesting as a drying wall: 5/10 (okay, it's not that bad. BLOMLJUD is that bad, not this.) When it comes to ECHOLYN's second eponymous album, you can't dismiss the band's warm and catchy melodies, but you can certainly dismiss the safe and uninteresting ... (read more)

Report this review (#1921163) | Posted by Luqueasaur | Saturday, May 12, 2018 | Review Permanlink

4 stars After seven years of silence the Echolyn reappear with a double album, the seventh in a major career : no title, a window on the cover, eight pieces of varying length and different expressive intensity, the center still a strong personality but with a few wrinkles. A rather long gestation, " Echo ... (read more)

Report this review (#1073055) | Posted by agla | Wednesday, November 6, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars (9/10) A blend of the finest music, distilled in two luxury casks. I've found the similarity with a long-aged, precious whiskey to last work by Echolyn indeed really fit. How else to describe the flavors, and the long persisting tastes after each sip (spin) of one of the 2 CDs that make up th ... (read more)

Report this review (#884883) | Posted by ingmin68 | Monday, December 31, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Hands down, the prog album of 2012. Yes, it isn't exactly what you'd call traditional prog once you're out of song one "Island", but if you like a well written song, well recorded and with a unique Americana flavor meets prog, go no further. I've taken the journey with Echolyn since AS THE WORLD an ... (read more)

Report this review (#876842) | Posted by duclos | Monday, December 17, 2012 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Echolyn is typically a difficult band for me to evaluate. From the albums that I have listened to, I know I like their music, yet I'm not sure what exactly it is that I like about them. They are known for their quirky, off-beat, Gentle Giant-like rhythms peppered with intricate vocal harmonies ... (read more)

Report this review (#853317) | Posted by Lofcaudio | Thursday, November 8, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 7 years now since their last release and what a nice return! I ll be honest, I barely listened to 2005's The end is beautiful and Mei, but this album is very fresh and kinds of takes the band to a new direction. We know them for the dissonant melodies and cool crazy tempos like as gentle giant di ... (read more)

Report this review (#813196) | Posted by Garlop | Friday, August 31, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars After a seven-year absence, echolyn have come up with a very mature album. All influences have by now been assimilated and they don't sound like anyone else (not that they ever really did). echolyn is a little bit less rocking then The End is Beautiful , but it has beautiful melodies and ther ... (read more)

Report this review (#809743) | Posted by fusaka | Friday, August 24, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars It is not in my nature to blindly agree with popular opinion, but at the same time, I cannot in good conscience NOT give this album five stars. Although this is my first (and currently only) example of Echolyn to go on, it is quite obvious this group not only knows what they are doing, but also have ... (read more)

Report this review (#797127) | Posted by pearty | Monday, July 30, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars let me get one thing straight right away. Island is AWESOME. a freakin brilliant prog master piece. the rest of the album? meh. if the whole thing was as good as the first song this would undoubtedly be a 5 star masterpiece. unfortunately... the rest of the album was very forgettable and boring for ... (read more)

Report this review (#790033) | Posted by pfloyd | Tuesday, July 17, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Perhaps it should be a crime to make music this great; it overtakes one's life! I find that I stay up just a little too late to hear one more song again - then another. I sit in my car in the parking lot before work to listen to the end of a disc - then hit repeat. I sneak the album into my o ... (read more)

Report this review (#771034) | Posted by Squire Jaco | Thursday, June 14, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I am thrilled to be the first echolyn fan to be able to write a review on this, their latest album. For those who know the band well, you will understand that echolyn is not the most prolific outfit in terms of musical output. But, what they lack in volume, they more than make up for in terms of p ... (read more)

Report this review (#769381) | Posted by echo lynn | Monday, June 11, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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