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ECHOLYN

Symphonic Prog • United States


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Echolyn biography
Strongly influenced by GENTLE GIANT, this outstanding american band has enough musicianship to deliver original, powerful, intricate, yet beautiful prog rock. The music is full of details, either in strong passages or in the quietest acoustic moods. The GG like Fender Rhoades piano brings the music to a higher atmosphere on the quiet parts. Fabulous acoustic guitar is present all the time, to break the power stream at the right time - always. Theres nothing more to say. This is essencial american prog rock, and "As The World" is their masterpiece.

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Buy ECHOLYN Music


I Heard You ListeningI Heard You Listening
Cdbaby/Cdbaby 2015
Audio CD$14.96
The End Is BeautifulThe End Is Beautiful
Import
CD BABY.COM/INDYS 2006
Audio CD$12.99
$8.90 (used)
Cowboy Poems FreeCowboy Poems Free
CD Baby 2009
Audio CD$8.99
$13.26 (used)
Suffocating the BloomSuffocating the Bloom
CD Baby 2004
Audio CD$11.98
$8.00 (used)
MeiMei
CD Baby 2004
Audio CD$12.99
$15.00 (used)
As the WorldAs the World
Import
Velveteen Records 2012
Audio CD$12.99
$26.61 (used)
EcholynEcholyn
CD Baby 2012
Audio CD$15.43
$39.95 (used)
As the WorldAs the World
Sony 1995
Audio CD$34.55
$4.94 (used)
A Little NonsenseA Little Nonsense
Import
Velveteen 2005
Audio CD$34.99
$60.00 (used)
Orange-ish BlueOrange-ish Blue
Import
CD Baby 2004
Audio CD$13.54
$13.53 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
As the World by Echolyn (CD, Mar-1995, Epic (USA)) USD $29.99 Buy It Now 2 days
ECHOLYN-I HEARD YOU LISTENING-JAPAN CD Fi83 USD $26.99 Buy It Now 3 days
ECHOLYN - STARS & GARDENS NEW DVD USD $65.02 Buy It Now 4 days
Finneus Gauge: One Inch Of The Fall - Echolyn/Buzby (2004, CD New) USD $18.94 Buy It Now 4 days
ECHOLYN - "As The World" CD 1995 1st US PROMO + BIO - ORIG (Sony 550 Music) USD $19.88 Buy It Now 5 days
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Echolyn: Stars and Gardens DVD Region 1 USD $44.56 Buy It Now 6 days
ECHOLYN - WHEN THE SWEET TURNS SOUR (CYCL 036) PROGRESSIVE ROCK CD USD $25.00 Buy It Now 8 days
ECHOLYN - COWBOY POEMS FREE NEW CD USD $25.68 Buy It Now 8 days
Echolyn Buzby Chris - Finneus Gauge: One Inch Of The Fall CD USD $23.49 Buy It Now 9 days
Cowboy Poems Free (2008) Echolyn Audio CD USD $33.95 Buy It Now 9 days
ECHOLYN / CHRIS BUZBY - FINNEUS GAUGE: ONE INCH OF THE FALL NEW CD USD $28.25 Buy It Now 10 days
Cowboy Poems Free - Echolyn (CD Used Very Good) USD $19.58 Buy It Now 11 days
Cowboy Poems Free - Echolyn (2009, CD New) USD $19.71 Buy It Now 11 days
Suffocating The Bloom - Echolyn (2004, CD New) USD $19.85 Buy It Now 11 days
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Echolyn - Cowboy Poems Free [CD New] USD $21.58 Buy It Now 11 days
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ECHOLYN - SUFFOCATING THE BLOOM NEW CD USD $25.68 Buy It Now 11 days
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Finneus Gauge: One Inch of the Fall Echolyn CD USD $33.95 Buy It Now 16 days
NO MORE PAIN The Post Human Condition JAPAN CD Kansas Echolyn Dream Theater USD $25.80 Buy It Now 17 days
ECHOLYN Cowboy Poems Free CD 2000/2008 Remix/Remast PROG Sealed USA USD $15.99 Buy It Now 22 days
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Echolyn (2012, CD New) USD $21.25 Buy It Now 23 days
Echolyn Echolyn CD USD $37.93 Buy It Now 23 days
Orange-Ish Blue - Echolyn/Kull (2004, CD New) USD $19.86 Buy It Now 24 days
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ECHOLYN / KULL - ORANGE - ORANGE-ISH BLUE NEW CD USD $28.25 Buy It Now 24 days
Echolyn As the World cd new USD $49.99 Buy It Now 24 days
Echolyn CD Pop Rock USD $23.59 Buy It Now 26 days
ECHOLYN - THE END IS BEAUTIFUL NEW CD USD $28.25 Buy It Now 27 days
ECHOLYN - AS THE WORLD NEW CD USD $30.26 Buy It Now 27 days
End Is Beautiful - Echolyn (2005, CD New) USD $19.72 Buy It Now 28 days
As The World - Echolyn (2005, CD New) USD $23.58 Buy It Now 28 days
ECHOLYN-I HEARD YOU LISTENING-VINYL LP2 JFK NEW USD $61.79 Buy It Now 28 days
Echolyn - End Is Beautiful [CD New] USD $22.26 Buy It Now 28 days
Echolyn - As The World [CD New] USD $26.17 Buy It Now 28 days
End Is Beautiful Echolyn Audio CD USD $33.95 Buy It Now 28 days
Echolyn Archives CD USD $11.99 Buy It Now 29 days


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ECHOLYN discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

ECHOLYN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.81 | 106 ratings
Echolyn
1991
4.19 | 249 ratings
Suffocating The Bloom
1992
3.94 | 248 ratings
As The World
1995
2.94 | 81 ratings
When The Sweet Turns Sour
1996
3.81 | 141 ratings
Cowboy Poems Free
2000
4.15 | 267 ratings
Mei
2002
3.97 | 178 ratings
The End Is Beautiful
2005
4.09 | 441 ratings
echolyn
2012
3.81 | 105 ratings
I Heard You Listening
2015

ECHOLYN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.21 | 5 ratings
Progfest '94 - The Official Bootleg
2002
3.67 | 23 ratings
Official Live Bootleg: Jersey Tomato
2002

ECHOLYN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.38 | 30 ratings
Stars And Gardens - Volume 4
2004

ECHOLYN Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.11 | 18 ratings
A Little Nonsense Now And Then - Boxed Set
2002

ECHOLYN Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.29 | 22 ratings
And Every Blossom
1993
2.38 | 5 ratings
As The World 2000 / Suffocating The Bloom 2000
2000
4.14 | 7 ratings
Accumulated Blur
2012
4.00 | 2 ratings
Lovesick Morning
2012
4.25 | 4 ratings
Moments with No Sound
2012
4.33 | 3 ratings
This Is How We Left It
2012
4.32 | 9 ratings
Crows Fly By
2013
4.00 | 9 ratings
Another Stone
2013

ECHOLYN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 I Heard You Listening by ECHOLYN album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.81 | 105 ratings

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I Heard You Listening
Echolyn Symphonic Prog

Review by duclos

4 stars Just when I expected Echolyn to take a well deserved victory lap of live dates after their 2012 self-titled masterpiece they just...well...kept on writing and recording. Seven years in the making, that album hangs like a shadow over this new one which took a brisk three. I've been listening to the wonderfully recorded album in it's 24bit/96kHz version for months now and it's a beautiful album that really shows Echolyn really not caring to live up to it's prog-laden roots but just to writing great, interesting, heartfelt songs. This will hurt them in the accumulation of prog accolades but Echolyn are past that. What you get now is the amazing groove laid down by Paul Ramsey with his partner Tom falling right into place beside him, the more and more warm and tasty keyboard stylings of Chris Buzby and the dual lead vocalists Brett Kull and Ray Weston emoting gorgeously throughout.

The album is strong with a nice even keel of quality throughout. In light of the many tracks that came out separately after the 2012 album (only at Bandcamp) you get the impression that if those are "not good enough" for an album or even that they just didn't fit somewhere that the band have a really high threshold for what makes it onto an album-what's worth working on to completion and to commit to a collection of songs to be called an Echolyn album. So the meticulousness shown on I HEARD YOU LISTENING is well appreciated. The energy on "Warjazz" and the cool soul on the verses of "Carried Home" stand out the most for me as the rest of the album is just solid HIGH-standard issue Echolyn. All the pitch slide harmonies and other patented Echolynisms are there.

If you read the "making of" on their website or have heard interviews lately, it's inspiring how much they really love what they do and have such strong friendships that inform the music they make. The attention to detail make this album worth having in your collection and it's a welcome addition to their canon of music.

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 I Heard You Listening by ECHOLYN album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.81 | 105 ratings

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I Heard You Listening
Echolyn Symphonic Prog

Review by Wicket
Prog Reviewer

2 stars And now we get to Echolyn's latest album, hailed as a gem from the prog faithful here.

And frankly, it's not what I expected. "Messenger Of All's Right" has a strong whiff of their self-titled album, a much tamer release compared to their back catalog, but the difference here is essentially the length and style. Rather then complicate it and write out checks the song can't catch, the beat always remains laid back, deciding to be predictable and therefore an enjoyable, relaxing listen, for a moment, anyway. "Warjazz" picks up the excitement a bit, but still remaining a bit muffled, while "Empyrean Views" once again sits back and just floats by in a hazy sea of "not really much to remember".

"Different Days" finally wakes up this whole album, and kicks me into a realization; this album is HEAVILY piano reliant. Honestly, there are songs I forget even have guitars playing. "Different Days" is a good song, but an exception to the rule. Most of the songs sound choked, muffled, repressed by the onslaught of piano and the lack of guitars. Yes, there are exceptions, "Different Days", "Once I Get Mine", and perhaps "Warjazz", but the rest of it is just muddled. Not even catchy melodies or verses can save these songs. It's a shift in a different direction that has been maintained since their self titled release in 2012, a shift I wish didn't happen.

Perhaps it's their shift in style, which makes sense, who really wants to play the same kind of music forever, especially in a prog band? But then again, if it ain't broke, why try to fix it? Or rather, change it? That's my thought on this album. The piano heavy texture just chokes the life and interest out of this album, there's not enough depth here as the songs just sound hollow and empty, the guitars are barely audible, and from a group of guys who can create hooks and melodies like no other, there just aren't any here. And frankly, that's all the best qualities these guys master that just aren't on display at all on this album.

Quite disappointing, really, considering the high praise.

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 echolyn by ECHOLYN album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.09 | 441 ratings

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echolyn
Echolyn Symphonic Prog

Review by Wicket
Prog Reviewer

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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 The End Is Beautiful by ECHOLYN album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.97 | 178 ratings

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The End Is Beautiful
Echolyn Symphonic Prog

Review by Wicket
Prog Reviewer

5 stars I found this to be shocking, this album, a stunning combination of accessibility with traces of complex prog influences, a unique balance of simple and complex, catchy and chaotic, a unique example in the world of prog, and indeed music in general.

"Georgia Pine" is a fantastic starter to this kind of album. It's catchy, it's full of energy, but it's not going to be a radio-friendly track at all. It's a fantastic blend of progressive elements and catchy radio-friendly jams that's just cool and fun and brilliant. "Heavy Blue Miles" on the other hand has unique melodies that are still fun to listen to, but the verses are much softer than its interconnecting parts, an unusually structured song, but in a good way.

"Lovesick Morning" is a 10+ minute ballad, essentially, not too overproduced or complicated, and is essentially a culmination of this Spock's Beard-esque pop prog sound that actually works really well, while "Make Me Sway" is a funky, groove-backed track that swings and syncopates and grooves like no other. All of these songs, even only halfway through the album, are a culmination of Echolyn's sound that had potential in the 90's, but never developed to the point of my liking until the turn of the 21st century with "Cowboy Poems Free".

And it's been a problem once I discovered bands that were rooted in progressive rock from day one, but were also capable of producing catchy, listenable, driving-friendly tracks. It's a compromise that actually benefits both and harms neither, a best of both worlds, and obviously as a fan of progressive rock music, I've never been a fan of the mainstream, for many reasons. And yet, I'm still unashamed for finding a song with a catchy pop lyric or melody and just grooving and bopping out to it in my car. There's a time and place for serious music, and also a time and place for music that just makes you feel good.

And here, I've never come across a bunch of songs that are able to combine both ideals in a seamless and almost effortless form. Sure, the title track is a bit of a dark subject lyrically at times, but it still develops into a nice jam. "So Ready" starts in an unusual psuedo-a capella fashion that, once again, settles into a funky, rock organ-driven groove and another catchy chorus. "Arc Of Dissent" changes it up a bit, with a nice, floating waltz-like ballad, while "Misery, Not Memory" close out the album in a typical symph prog fashion in bombastic fashion, filled with driving energy and ceaseless passion. In short, a brilliant finish to a brilliant album.

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 Mei by ECHOLYN album cover Studio Album, 2002
4.15 | 267 ratings

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Mei
Echolyn Symphonic Prog

Review by Wicket
Prog Reviewer

5 stars From a band whose best efforts come out of concise songs with catchy hooks and melodies, and rely rather more on simplicity over complexity, a singular 50 minute long epic seems kinda unusual for this band's repertoire.

But that's exactly what they did with their 2003 album "Mei". And strangely, it doesn't sound like a big Yes tribute album or Spock's Beard-esque colossal concept album. In fact, the intro is fairly simple, a nice little ballad strolling along until the band fully kicks in about 5 minutes later, with catchy melodies in hand, and yet prog elements still remain, with unusual jump cuts to minimal instrumentation, with samples of vibes and synth action cutting in between a funky drum groove and a really impressive and aggressive effort from the singers.

Even by this point, it's an impressive album because it doesn't sound like a typical, bombastic concept album by some 70's prog band, and even though most of the defining sections of the song don't really connect together like an epic or concept album, I'm not turned off from it because I don't get that impression from the first listen. Yes, it's one giant 50-minute long song, but it doesn't have a bombastic intro or long prolonged overture. It's very understated in its construction, and therefore comes off with a sense of modesty. In fact, overall the album tends to have a laid-back groove to it, the band's not in a rush to get anywhere, not in a rush to tell a story or paint a picture, but rather it feels like one long jam the band put together with scheduled improvs in between controlled verses and phrases of singing.

And frankly, I think because of this laid-back groovy song, it's probably one of my favorite 30+ minute prog songs ever, mainly from the fact it doesn't take itself too seriously. And probably the most interesting thing about this album as well is that Echolyn's signature sound is still present and audible, but rather than overcomplicate and overproduce, it feels as if the band has taken a more relaxed approach, not that they don't care about it, but rather just want the music to do all the talking and not dilute it with overcomplexity.

And perhaps because of that, it's an album that's so easy to get into, there's a ton of groovy sections and equally as much beautiful ballad sections, and it doesn't sound either cheesy or nostalgic of 70's prog, either. In fact, Echolyn on this album have created a sound that doesn't sound unlike a combination of Spock's Beard and jam bands (a la moe. or Phish). And as such, unlike perhaps previous Echolyn albums or other symphonic prog bands, there's nothing here that ticks me off, no predictable sections that make me cringe when they happen. Nothing like that. As much of an oxymoron that it may be, it's a simple epic.

And that's what makes it so great. So great, in fact, I actually have it on my driving playlist. That's how good it is, because that means it's not only considered a progressive masterpiece, but it's also incredible accessible, but also it's full of good jams and relaxing moments. In short, it really has almost everything you could really want, just nothing that you'd expect . Which, when referring to a prog band, is something you probably WOULD expect, that being the unexpected.

It really is a rare beast, this. A unicorn, an 847-year cycle comet. And as such, it'll be a cherished album of mine for many years to come.

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 Cowboy Poems Free by ECHOLYN album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.81 | 141 ratings

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Cowboy Poems Free
Echolyn Symphonic Prog

Review by Wicket
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I must admit, this album came as quite a surprise.

"The End Is Beautiful" is my personal favorite from this band's repertoire. It's a good balance and blend of technical, proggy influences with good melodies and, honestly, some kinda catchy tunes ("Georgia Pine" at the top of that list), but I decided to head backwards into their catalog and find their first successful attempt at this unique sound, which at first I thought was "As The World", but I found it still had some stale "90's prog" sound to it. It just didn't sound unique or and original, and neither did it stand out from a traditional, technical prog standard with organ or blazing guitar solos or anything. It was actually a let down after such a promising opener in the title track.

However, I never thought I'd find myself enjoying "Cowboy Poems Free" as much as I am. Right away, "Texas Dust" and "Human Lottery" introduce both catchy tunes and unusual time signatures befitting of prog influenced bands. The rock organ keys just seem to have so much more life into them, a bit like classic Spock. Now this band starts to sound unique, original, kinda like the way Spock's Beard rose to prominence. They didn't bother with trying to sound like traditional prog, they focused on creating good tunes they were different, but also of the times.

Same goes with this album. "Grey Flannel Suits" honestly doesn't sound like a song written in 2000, or 1990 or even the 1970's for that matter. The occasional time signature changes, the rock organ driven sound, the catchy tunes. To me, if you focus on trying to create an original sound, chances are, you end up creating an original sound and interest in your band will grow more because your sound will stick out.

And this album has that, that special something previous albums didn't have. There are still those unique little items, proggy tidbits of sounds and noise and techniques that divert a bit from the mainstream, but you can also tell, especially from this album, that above all, these guys are just having fun making this music. There's no doubt they were also having fun making music before this album, but for the first time, I feel that here you can actually SENSE that they're having fun from the perspective of you, as the listener.

And of course, there's also an identity with most, if not all of these tracks. The "poems" interspersed may be merely interludes, but "High As Pride" really does come off as a genuine ballad of sorts. Every single song has a groove and direction taken that's easy for the listener to follow, unlike "As The World", where I really couldn't follow them at all.

It's no masterpiece, but in a general sense of catchy prog that's still faithful to the genre, this is definitely a surprise, and a staple of the Echolyn musical catalog.

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 As The World by ECHOLYN album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.94 | 248 ratings

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As The World
Echolyn Symphonic Prog

Review by Wicket
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Echolyn has always been a conundrum when trying to listen and analyze their music. It's not terrible, but I've never been the biggest fan.

Perhaps I've just never given them a full in-depth listen. "Suffocating The Bloom", I never finished. It sounded like typical outdated 90's prog I just couldn't take it anymore. "As The World", however, shows their attempt to move towards a more accessible, catchier prog. Although I could never recite the lyrics to the title track, the fact that the groove is in 5/8 makes swinging along to it predictable, and slightly enjoyable, but frankly that may be an exception to the rule. "Uncle" is a lengthy 7 minute track that I can't describe, other for the fact that there was singing of notes atop notes played by guitars and synth with some drums playing in the background. It's not a static track, either, it occasionally jutters and stutter-steps across syncopated rhythms, but for the life of me, I can't remember much of it.

And frankly the album suffers from much of the same syndrome. It still feels like "90's prog", honest, good-working, well-tempered musicians trying hard to create a genre that not only sounds dated, but feels and behaves dated as well. The attempt to marry catchy songs with traditional prog is a good attempt, but the 90's just weren't the day and age to really do that. The only band to really garner respect from it (in my mind) was Spock's Beard, and even then Morse's voice sounded (and still at times) a bit flat, lacking clarity and quality, almost the achilles' heel of 90's prog.

For those who DO like 90's sounding prog, both "Suffocating The Bloom" and "as The World" are perfect, but this album at least has a good attempt in simple, distilled swings at the catchy prog bat. I haven't gotten to their newest album yet, but as of this review, I still hold "The End Is Beautiful" as their greatest achievement so far. A brilliant balance of Echolyn's styles and influences that began to really brew at the start of this album.

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 As The World by ECHOLYN album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.94 | 248 ratings

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As The World
Echolyn Symphonic Prog

Review by bigjohnwayne

5 stars As the World is the best prog album of the 90s.

The first Anglagard album was great. Spock's Beard had a couple quality albums back then. Porcupine Tree was starting to tap the zeitgeist. After a run of awful singers Genesis discovers Ray Wilson (the best singer in prog since Boz Burrell) and releases "Calling All Stations", their best album since their landmark debut.

In retrospect, there was a lot of good stuff around in the 90s.

But this album beats them all.

Here's the boilerplate stuff: -this is Echolyn's 3rd album. It is possibly their best, although their lyrics and sound would improve after their reformation in 2000, if you like their more jumpy, contrapuntal 90s stuff, this is the zenith of that sound. -This was their major label album. It sounds lush as all get-out. There are three songs with strings, if memory serves. It sounds great. Unfortunately the major label would screw the band over and lead to them going on a 5 year hiatus after the release of the record. -As complex as the record is, it is quite catchy. You can see the seeds of the band's future in songs like "One for the Show", "Never the Same", etc.

Never heard Echolyn before? They are an American band (much like Grand Funk Railroad, in that respect). They have two lead singers, both of whom are unique and great. They have a lot of 3 part harmonies. Their music is a tight amalgamation of influences. Due to their complexity and the fact that most of their songs are short people compare them to Gentle Giant, which is fine, I guess.

The album seems to have a couple overarching themes (which it shares with all their 90s work): individuality, personal responsibility, how awesome the band is, etc. (As a sidenote, they are kind of like a rap crew in that they thought they were awesome and wanted to set it to music. If they were the Wu Tang Clan, "The Cheese Stands Alone" would be their "Da Mystery of Chessboxin", "A Little Nonsense" would be their "C.R.E.A.M.", "Here I Am" would be their "METHOD Man", "How Long I Have Waited" is their "Bring Da Ruckus" and "As the World" would be their "Daytona 500", even down to the a capella introduction.)

"All Ways the Same" is a gorgeous strings and vocals introduction which leads into the title track, which rocks hard and has some fiendishly complex harmonies. I can't believe this song was financed by a major label. This song is killer live.

"Uncle" is a weird little song. It's long for Echolyn--about 7 minutes if memory serves. It's a narrative about a bullied child and his mother extracting revenge for him. The opening bassline has a great sound. Major label dollars at work again.

"How Long I Have Waited" is jazzy and breezy. In a strange parallel universe in which Steely Dan are as revered as the Beatles, this song moved major units.

"Best Regards" is a warped little pop song with great piano. It's about writing a letter to your future self. The harmonies in the chorus are great. Very, very tight.

"The Cheese Stands Alone" is the ballad of a band called Echolyn. Great vocals. Keyboard solo sounds better live with Buzby's new gear than it does here. So it goes. The second half of the song is incredible. The payoff vocal line is one of Weston's best moments.

And now on to side 2 (I think of this as a record with three sides)

Prose is a brief little piano and drums piece which leads into "A Short Essay", the first of a cycle of songs which appear to be a meditation on decision making, death, judgment, and responsibility through a Christian-ish lens. The wordless chorus is great. Once Echolyn matured after their reformation they started doing less three part harmonies. (They are still there, but they are mixed more naturally instead of being front and center) I love their new sound, but Lord do I miss those sunny three part harmonies.

One strong point of "As the World", besides every single song being awesome from beginning to end, is that the band was developing a sense of taste and didn't get goofy as much. Well, "My Dear Wormwood" is delightfully strange. In terms of songs based on CS Lewis books, this makes Narnia by Steve Hackett and the Guy From Kansas look like "I think It's Going to Rain Today". It's circus music combined with ersatz death metal and its the best.

"Entry 11-19-93" might be the band's best song. In many ways this prefigures their later work--simpler arrangement, better lyrics. I don't know if the lyrics of this song were truly found in a diary of a relative who had finished their days at a nursing home. I surely hope not because that would be a depressing way to go. The song is carried by strings and gorgeous harmonies. "I sit by the window tied to this chair / they've turned off my set / it's quiet time". Powerful stuff.

The song segues seamlessly into "One for the Show", an earnest take on the idea of individual judgment and the self knowledge that comes with it. Brett Kull does a nice job singing this one.

Side Three: The Wiblet is a 45 second long instrumental. Piano and percussion stand out. It is fiendishly complex. All bands on the Cuneiform label should re-write all of their songs to make them exactly 45 seconds.

Audio Verite alternates dense and not-so-dense sections. The bridge is incredible. Blasts of three part harmonies over a ferocious bassline and dirty organ.

"Settled Land" is quiet then loud then quiet. The quiet parts are lush and evocative. Kind of like one or two of the songs that weren't terrible on "We Can't Dance" by Genesis. The loud part features a "Horton Hears a Who" reference and a Stephen King one too for good measure.

"A Habit Worth Forming" is a guitar solo within a love song. Both parts are quite good. Ray Weston's vocals are the highlight

"Never the Same" is the swansong of 90s Echolyn. It is about death, but from a much sunnier place than their later works on the subject. It's got strings! It's got a singalong chorus! It's got a rambunctious bridge! It has a fade out! (Your major label dollars at work). Great song.

This is an incredible piece of work. Highly recommended.

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 Suffocating The Bloom by ECHOLYN album cover Studio Album, 1992
4.19 | 249 ratings

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Suffocating The Bloom
Echolyn Symphonic Prog

Review by bigjohnwayne

5 stars Here's where things get really interesting.

Let's make on thing clear: Echolyn is truly great. They have a vital creativity on par with the greats of the 70s. Their influences aren't just Genesis, Yes, and Marillion. You can hear Stravinsky, Pat Metheny, and the Raspberries on this album if you listen hard enough. (On one song you can even hear Harry Chapin, but the less said about that one the better.)

This is their first album of five (to date) with the lineup of Brett Kull on guitars and vocals, Ray Weston on vocals, Chris Buzby on keys and background vocals, Paul Ramsey on drums, and Tom Hyatt on bass.

This album was good enough to get a prog band that everyone seems to write off as the "American Gentle Giant" a major label contract. In 1994. Let that sink in for a moment. This is the age of In Utero by Nirvana. One of the bigger hits of that year was the B-52's covering the theme songs to the Flinstones, for God's sake.

Go out and buy this record right now.

Still dubious?

"21" is an angular piano-led rocker which somehow remains joyful and happy. It's got more hooks than a tacklebox.

"Winterthru" is the best song about global warming since "Monkey Gone to Heaven" by the Pixies.

"Memoirs from Between" begins austere and almost neo-classical before becoming pastoral before rawking out. One of Brett Kull's vocal turns.

"In Every Garden" is a metaphor stretched until it breaks. But oh, oh, oh, oh...that guitar climax.

"A Little Nonsense" is among their best songs. So good I hardly ever listen to it anymore. You know you do that too. I haven't listened to "Squonk" on Trick of the Tail since Clinton was president.

"Here I Am" is what Gentle Giant would've sounded like had they drank Budweiser instead of mead.

"Cactapus" features the band doing their Pat Metheny circa American Garage impression. They aren't there yet, but they'd get there during that 7 second interlude stuck in the middle of the last song on "The End is Beautiful".

"Suite for the Everyman" is a 28 minute long middle finger to the record labels for all the rejection letters. Later, Sony would sign them and return the middle finger by dropping them and leaving them saddled with personal debt, but that's another story. The song starts off with some 12-tone music, then it gets romantic, then angry, then goofy, then angry again, and then mystical and then there's a weird part with marching band percussion that I still don't get. But then it all comes together in the end. Great song.

If you like this song, or Echolyn in general, its worth it to snag a copy of the Progday '95 cd. The concert was between shoes dropping vis-a-vis the Sony debacle and it features the most ferocious vocal performance I've ever heard. It's like Ray Weston is hoping that his voice is enough to destroy the music industry.

The title track finishes the record. It is unspeakably beautiful. It contains the only good bass solo that isn't on a New Order record.

Get the record.

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 Echolyn by ECHOLYN album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.81 | 106 ratings

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Echolyn
Echolyn Symphonic Prog

Review by bigjohnwayne

4 stars The deeper you go into any genre, the more one shot wonders you find--bands who emerged fully formed and put out an energetic debut, only to follow it up with one or more mediocre efforts.

Say: Jadis.

(Indie rock, with its inherent hype machine is especially full of these guys: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah springs to mind.)

Prog has become a bit of an isolated cottage industry. Bands still grow up in public: look how Big Big Train took a full decade plus to get any attention whatsoever. Sometimes I think that there is a bit of an echo-chamber thing going. (I worry that more budding proggers are listening to Tony Banks ape Vivaldi than Vivaldi. I think its telling that when a lot of neo prog bands try to rock out they sound a bit like Asia).

Anywho--where was I? Oh yes, Echolyn's first record.

It's pretty damn good, if naive and inconsistent. But hey--its a debut record.

You could say that Echolyn was a 90s update on Gentle Giant. Many people do, in fact. But Echolyn is much better than Gentle Giant, unless you are big into renaissance fairs, in which case you will probably prefer the Brothers Shulman and their band of merrie troubadours.

Two more than competent lead vocalists. Real live vocal harmonies so delicate and well arranged they make Yes' harmonies sound like Def Leppard.

Cutting edge/awful synth patches.

Lyrics that are about actual things instead of goblins, even if the lyrics aren't great yet. (and Echolyn's lyrics will get great)

Jazz influences (hey, is that a fretless bass?)

It starts off with a clip from some movie based on a Rand novel (you were 19 too, once) and needless to say it goes uphill from there.

"The Great Men" is early Echolyn put in a test tube and lengthened by 60%. Great sections. They still don't know quite how to connect them, but that's quite all right.

"On Any Given Night" showcases the pipes of Raymond Weston, one of the best vocalists you've never heard of. This is when they still let him sing the delicate parts and its gorgeous.

"Carpe Diem" is the song on the album you'll like best on first listen. It is probably the 2nd or 3rd best song on the record and was a live mainstay until the band became embarrassed at its optimism and switched to RAWKIN DEATH METAL. Not really, but they did seem to be embarrassed at it enough where they rerecorded it to make it a bit tougher and eliminated a couple of the fey hooks, because hooks are for nancyboys or something.

Now the epic. "Shades" is 14 minutes of gorgeousness about a failed marriage. The story is told that the band won a battle-of-the-bands contest and the prize was free studio time to record one song. They brought this monstrosity in. People were shocked, etc, etc. The last four minutes are among the most beautiful pieces of music in their discography. When they go melodic their peers aren't Marillion and Yes. They are more along the lines of classic pop, except with Steely Dan chords and guitar hero theatrics.

The band must have known that they would achieve an audience and that at least a dozen of their fans would be completists, because they recorded "Clumps of Dirt" even though its not very good. Imagine a combination of "Frankenstein", "YYZ" and "Benny the Bouncer". I'm sure it served its purpose playing in front of a bunch of Yinzers in some stabby bar in western Pennsylvania.

"Peace in Time" is a bit of a dead end in the band's discography: a beautiful path they could've traveled but didn't. It's a languid jazz-rock ballad with very sensitive vocals and great bass. Tom Hyatt, their once and future bass player, joined the band during the recording of the record and this is one of the songs he shreds the frets on.

"Meaning and the Moment" is what Spock's Beard songs would sound like if they were more awesome. Echolyn was and is allergic to fadeouts and it pays off here with a goofy, made-for-the-stage rockin' socks off kind of ending. There is a superior acoustic version on the odds and sods record that got released after they broke up in the mid-90s

"Breath of Fresh Air" is another jazz-rock ballad. I'd like to know what this song would sound like acoustic, without the echoed vocals in the chorus and the trashy electric piano sound.

"Until it Rains" features guitar both backwards and frontwards and some tasty licks throughout. I'm listening to this now as I write the review and it is much better than I thought it was.

"The Velveteen Rabbit" is very, very twee. Brett Kull gives it his all on the vocals. Imagine an electric version of Anthony Phillips' "Which Way the Wind Blows", except not as good, which is understandable because Which Way the Wind Blows is awe inspiring.

So: It's the worst album by one of the best prog bands ever. And I don't bandy that about. Vocally, they are better than any prog band I can think of. They are on the level of Simon and the Garfunkel and the Beach Boys at times. Musically they are songwriter's songwriters and they can play their instruments well, I'm told.

Getting the album in its original format is nearly impossible. It's availible in full on the "A Little Nonsense" box set. I have heard competing reports vis-a-vis whether it has been remixed or not. I bet it wasn't.

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