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ECHOLYN

Symphonic Prog • United States


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Echolyn biography
Founded in Philadelphia, USA in 1989 - Disbanded in 1995 - Reformed in 2000

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 Rhodes 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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ECHOLYN discography


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

3.79 | 141 ratings
Echolyn
1991
4.16 | 325 ratings
Suffocating The Bloom
1992
3.95 | 313 ratings
As The World
1995
2.92 | 101 ratings
When The Sweet Turns Sour
1996
3.84 | 182 ratings
Cowboy Poems Free
2000
4.14 | 339 ratings
Mei
2002
3.89 | 230 ratings
The End Is Beautiful
2005
4.03 | 546 ratings
Echolyn
2012
3.80 | 210 ratings
I Heard You Listening
2015

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

3.31 | 7 ratings
Progfest '94 - The Official Bootleg
2002
3.67 | 28 ratings
Official Live Bootleg: Jersey Tomato
2002

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

4.39 | 40 ratings
Stars And Gardens - Volume 4
2004

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

4.11 | 27 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 | 28 ratings
And Every Blossom
1993
2.38 | 5 ratings
As The World 2000 / Suffocating The Bloom 2000
2000
3.90 | 10 ratings
Accumulated Blur
2012
4.00 | 4 ratings
Lovesick Morning
2012
4.20 | 5 ratings
Moments with No Sound
2012
4.00 | 5 ratings
This Is How We Left It
2012
4.34 | 10 ratings
Crows Fly By
2013
3.95 | 10 ratings
Another Stone
2013

ECHOLYN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The End Is Beautiful by ECHOLYN album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.89 | 230 ratings

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The End Is Beautiful
Echolyn Symphonic Prog

Review by Squire Jaco

4 stars I'm always more than a little suspicious when a reviewer says, "You have to listen to this cd a few times before you like it." It usually means that they needed time to convince themselves that they did not make a sub-par purchase, so watch out for th those cd's as a general rule.

And yet, I think it's a testament to the complexity and multi-textured quality of Echolyn's unique brand of progressive music that each album DOES sound better every time you put it on. Personally, I've liked every Echolyn cd I ever heard on the first listen; their music always contains enough melodic hooks, tight musicianship, and thought-provoking lyrics to give you the first impression that the cd is pretty good. But subsequent spins reveal the genius and cleverness that only true masters can produce.

"The End Is Beautiful" continues the diverse catalog of published music that Echolyn has graced us with for almost 30 years. This time it's not the 1970's retro-prog of "As The World", or the Americana folk-prog of "Cowboy Poems Free" (still my favorite!), or the contemplative symphonic prog of "Mei". This most recent effort is darker, somewhat heavier, sometimes even "urban"-sounding, with a more raw "live in the studio" feel to it, confidently driven along by the up-front drumming of Paul Ramsey. Their caustic lyrics of abuse, regret, death and despair on this cd make the musings of the late Kevin Gilbert and Shaun Guerin sound almost cheerful!

But don't get the idea that this is dark prog like Anekdoten or Tool or the like. You can still count on the melancholy love songs (albeit with UNhappy endings!) sung beautifully by Brett Kull and Ray Weston. Some of the great vocal harmonies and major chord progressions that occur in the refrains sort of contradict the unkind lyrics they're singing. And Chris Buzby gives the darker subject matter some welcome light with his typically inventive keyboard touches that accompany his heavier use of Hammond organ throughout this cd. There's even some small brass band sounds that creep in on some of the tunes - cool and different!

I love the second-guessing refrain in "Heavy Blue Miles" ("It's O.K., I'm not O.K..."), the sweeter songs "Lovesick Morning" and "Arc of Descent", and the great instrumental sections of "Make Me Sway" and "Misery Not Memory".

This is a great rock album in the progressive genre - "progressive" both in the choice of instrumentation as well as in the way new ground is broken. It's time to admit that Echolyn's songwriting is clearly some of the best in the world today, and combined with their virtuosity, it sets them apart as one of the premier progressive rock bands around.

The end might be beautiful, but this part of the Echolyn journey is pretty awesome too.....Give it a spin.

4-1/2 stars

 Cowboy Poems Free by ECHOLYN album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.84 | 182 ratings

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Cowboy Poems Free
Echolyn Symphonic Prog

Review by Squire Jaco

5 stars With a focus on intimate profiles of early 20th century Americana and historical events and circumstances, "Cowboy Poems Free" creates a new sound for Echolyn, while still retaining many of the progressive trademarks that they displayed on earlier cd's. This is a great cd.

The band itself is top-notch: they've consistently written great songs with compelling lyrics spanning a wide variety of subjects and emotions. Great technicians - they don't overplay, but you get the clear sense that they are both confident and competent in their musical abilities. They excel at fast-paced, multi-layered prog that's reminiscent at times of Gentle Giant's virtuosity and dissonance, and National Health's progressive-fusion cleverness; but they can also slow down and croon a ballad as lovely and heartfelt as anything out there.

The music here is at times fun, often reflective, and always new and interesting - really holds your attention, while still offering some nice melodic hooks. My personal favorites are centered in the middle of the album with "1729 Broadway", "High as Pride", "American Vacation Tune" and "Brittany". "Texas Dust" is also a great energetic album opener, and the cd ends with the absolutely gorgeous "Too Late For Everything".

I also like the vocals on this CD much more than on "As the World", and especially "Suffocating the Bloom" (where Weston could occasionally sound like an over-dramatic Michael Sadler from Saga!). And some great vocal harmonies here too, which at times remind me of....Steely Dan?! I don't know why - maybe the subject matter and some of the wry, bittersweet lyrics.

This is a band that deserves a lot more attention. Their CD "As the World" was a bit more classic prog than this, but very good. And 2002's "Mei" has some moments of true inspiration. "Cowboy Poems Free" balances those two albums by showing a more personal, folkier side. Get this album. Get them all.

 A Little Nonsense Now And Then - Boxed Set  by ECHOLYN album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2002
4.11 | 27 ratings

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A Little Nonsense Now And Then - Boxed Set
Echolyn Symphonic Prog

Review by Squire Jaco

4 stars One of the greatest progressive rock bands to ever hail from U.S. soil, Echolyn is starting to finally get a LITTLE more of the recognition that they have so richly deserved over the past 30 years or so. This 3-cd box set of earlier and lesser-known songs and albums is an absolute must for any fan of their more recent albums. It's a great companion to their 2004 DVD "Stars and Gardens", both products providing a more personal glimpse into the lives and background of this unique group of musicians.

With this neatly-packaged set (it's sort of like a gate-fold cd, except that it folds out four ways - like a cross - and the dimensions are about an inch bigger in length in width), you get remastered versions of some out-of-print albums, plus some never-before released stuff "from the archives". Disc 1 contains their complete 1991 eponymous debut, which I think is absolutely fantastic! Really surprised me. Disc 2 contains both their 1993 EP "...and every blossom" (about 16 minutes of songs about Spring) plus their 1996 cd "When the Sweet Turns Sour" (54 minutes). Disc 3 is sort of a hodgepodge: a 1989 track called "The Edge of Wonder" (aka E-rad Glitch), three live versions of the Cowboy Poems Free songs "Texas Dust", "Brittany" and "Swingin' the Axe", plus year 2000 remixes of "Suffocating The Bloom", "As the World", "Carpe Diem" and "Shades". All no-nonsense shtuff! (Well, maybe a little nonsense. Now and then...)

The set also comes with a booklet that explains the origin of the songs included, with commentary by Ray Weston. Newcomers to Echolyn should seek out their more recent albums first. But seasoned veterans of the group should snatch this set up without delay.

4-1/2 stars

 Suffocating The Bloom by ECHOLYN album cover Studio Album, 1992
4.16 | 325 ratings

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Suffocating The Bloom
Echolyn Symphonic Prog

Review by Luqueasaur

5 stars The 70s but it's the 90s: 9/10

After being disappointed by ECHOLYN's 2011 eponymous album, but still enamored with Raymond Weston's remarkable vocal power, I decided to still give the band another chance and check their more renowned album SUFFOCATING THE BLOOM, acclaimed for being oh so good just like the good ole 70s. And lemme tell you how it's a fair enough claim, if not an underestimation.

Right off the bat echolyn's energetic and insanely eclectic style of GENTLE GIANT-]-tinted progressive rock calls attention. It instantly glued me to the rest of the album like a sticky trap glues a fly to slow, agonizing death. And for good, because there are so many good moments available for an attentive ear! Bluesy, fast-tempo, tropical, violin-oriented, jolly carol-esque wintery tracks; a wide range of styles always presenting superb musicianship from everyone involved (especially the drummer!) with, naturally, the omnipresence of synthesizers, as progressive rock typically presents.

In fact, this diversity is a beautiful demonstration of creativity that actually astounded me as I underestimated these fellas. I find rare to see modern bands capture that innovative, metamorphic aspect of the 70s prog without sounding like it belongs to the 70s... and that's exactly what ECHOLYN does. It gets the best of the 70s prog, and translates into a more modern style. This is the 90s prog, baby, and it's just as good as the original!

... well, not quite, but, as far as I'm concerned, early ECHOLYN is just good.

Checka-checka check it out!

 Echolyn by ECHOLYN album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.03 | 546 ratings

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Echolyn
Echolyn Symphonic Prog

Review by Luqueasaur

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 arrangements. I don't know about you, but I like experimentalism in my morning bowl of milk and crunchy prog rock. But, ECHOLYN... lads, where's the boldness? The uncategorizable sounds, the unexplored melodies, and arrangements that make prog, progressive? Where? That's my first issue with this album.

I'll be fair, there are stances where prog isn't necessarily what I described as an ideal prog rock accompaniment to morning milk bowls. Epitaph, pretty much all of STEVEN WILSON's solo work, ECHOLYN itself are good examples of that deviation of the norm... and none of them ring a bell to me. Truth be told, my enmity towards ECHOLYN lies mostly on a level of personal taste rather than an "objective" (if such term is even applicable to music) lackluster concept or performance by the band. Come to think of it, I am hostile towards Crossover Prog in general, and this album is the prime definition, or at least in my mind the paramount example of such ProgArchives-created genre, so no wonder this characteristic is my second issue regarding the record.

With that in mind, I can sum up my whole concept very shortly: I like energetic, lively, fluid music. Dynamic rhythm, innovation, unforeseen ideas are all important to me. Crossover Prog hardly fits those criteria (when it does, like in the track Headright, I take off my hat). So I end up not liking it. ECHOLYN sounds like it. I end up not liking it. La Fin.

If you like music that sounds like Crossover Prog, ignore me and give it this a go. If it ain't your thing, though? Avoid this. Go check SUFFOCATING THE BLOOM and observe, drowning in an amalgam of shock and gloom, how ECHOLYN totally nails GENTLE GIANT-esque creativity... and fifteen years later, seems to completely forget how to do so.

 I Heard You Listening by ECHOLYN album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.80 | 210 ratings

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I Heard You Listening
Echolyn Symphonic Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars US band ECHOLYN was formed back in 1989, and in the early part of the 1990's they became the brightest shining light in the US prog scene when they were signed by one of the major labels. While that label eventually lost faith in the band, that have never been an issue with their fans, and they are still one of the most highly regarded bands in the US progressive rock scene. "I Heard You Listening" is their most recent studio album, and was self-released by the band in 2015.

If awards and ratings were to be decided on the sheer potential commercial scope of an album, "I Heard You Listening" would be among the very rare albums I'd describe as just about perfect. For my particular taste in music it's merely a strong album. I will add to that that there's something of a timeless feel to this album that makes me suspect I'll say the same 20 years from now, which isn't always the case with an album that manage to draw my interest. Other than that, I'd say that by and large this is an album that should have a broad appeal in progressive rock circles: If you like this kind of music in general, this is a CD that merits an inspection.

 As The World by ECHOLYN album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.95 | 313 ratings

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As The World
Echolyn Symphonic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars This one is perhaps my favourite of the major echolyn albums of the 1990s, charting as it does an intriguing middle course from the neo-progesque accessibility and catchiness of their self-titled debut album and the more esoteric complexity and experimentalism of Suffocating the Bloom. They do not, for instance, go all-out for the intricate Gentle Giant-esque vocal interplay that they dabbled with on Suffocating the Bloom, but they do show the influence of that band. In particular, they have masterfully managed the same knack that Gentle Giant had, especially in their early years, of balancing technical complexity with beauty and accessibility.

It could have been a wonderful gateway drug to prog for so many - and for quite a few, of course, it was. But it's a tremendous shame that Sony refused to help promote the album at all, leaving echolyn to handle that by themselves; what, after all, is the point of signing someone to a multi-album record deal on the strength of releases like the far less commercial and far more oblique Suffocating the Bloom, only to abruptly get cold feet as soon as the musicians produce an album for you? But hey, it works for me.

 Echolyn by ECHOLYN album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.79 | 141 ratings

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Echolyn
Echolyn Symphonic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The debut album by echolyn gets overlooked a lot, and perhaps part of that is down to the way it's tended to sit out of print, with the most recent reissue I am aware of being on the 3CD odds-and-sods compilation A Little Nonsense. That said, I think there's more to the story than that: the reason this echolyn album isn't quite as widely celebrated as their other two major albums of the 1990s is that it doesn't quite sound like we expect an echolyn album to sound.

Specifically, on this release echolyn practice a well-honed neo-prog style which shows little evidence of the Gentle Giant inspiration which would make Suffocating the Bloom such a characterful and unusual release. The complex interweaving vocal harmonies they worked in there, in particular, seem to be more or less missing. What you get instead, though, is a well-polished and accessible neo-prog album which is a pretty decent listen (though I could do without the occasional pandering to classic rock traditions that could perhaps be left to quietly die out, like the rather dull drum solo in Clumps of Dirt).

There is, in particular, a certain warmth to the album that sometimes feels like it gets a little lost on subsequent echolyn releases, which means that if you are fond of the band I honestly think it's worth your while to track it down in whatever form it's available in and give it a listen, because whilst this doesn't sound like the echolyn we know, it's still an echolyn which is worth your attention.

 I Heard You Listening by ECHOLYN album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.80 | 210 ratings

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I Heard You Listening
Echolyn Symphonic Prog

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

4 stars Echolyn, to my ears, are the ultimate treasure of modern American prog rock. At this writing, it's been a full quarter century since their self titled debut. Each album is, in it's own way a gem. Using deeply layered arrangements of surprisingly retro sounding instruments, they have perfected their own style of progressive, in a genre too often accused of borrowing too heavily from forbearers (although what genre of music does not do that?)

"I Heard You Listening" is yet another in an unbroken string of perfectly crafted Echolyn albums. For most of the disc, the tracks alternate between their more romantic side, similar to the songs on their first two albums, and their harder-edged ballsier side, perfected on the album Sony mishandled so long ago, "As The World".

But it's the poetry of the lyrics that bring the tracks together. Say what you will, but both Ray Weston and Brett Kull both have a decidedly sophisticated way of writing lyrics that are sometimes liltingly beautiful, sometimes dark and gritty, but always poetically beautiful. And musically, the depth of the instrumentation, even in the rare moments where they are playing relatively simple passages, are always the perfect backing to the words.

The tracks that stand out to me are:

"Warjazz", with violent imagery and heavy music all around.

"Carried Home", a song that sound deceptively light, but drew me in more and more each time I played it.

"Once I Get Mine", another raucous track that I can't get out of my head.

And "Vanishing Son", a song from the point of view of a protagonist in despair, to the point of suicide, that somehow ends in an out chorus of almost pure exuberance.

I absolutely love the album, but not quite as much as "Mei" and "The End Is Beautiful", so I'll rate it 4.5 out of five, rounding down to 4.

 I Heard You Listening by ECHOLYN album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.80 | 210 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.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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