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Echolyn - Suffocating The Bloom CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.16 | 301 ratings

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Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars Really, the first couple of times I heard this album, I didn't like it at all, but I was stuck comparing it to later Echolyn releases, which are by far more symphonic in nature and generally easier to follow. Despite the brevity of its compositions, the music is awfully complex, and I hated that "A Suite for Everyman" didn't exactly flow (but why should it? It's a suite!). For the most part, the music jaunty, happy-go-lucky, and requires a bit of an investment. The bottom line is that it took multiple listens to properly appreciate this generally upbeat and crazy album, but the reward was worth it. Certain songs are far more enjoyable to me than others, most notably the first three, "One Voice," and particular aspects of the suite.

"21" This opening song has a frantic pace and some great guitar over a wonderful chord progression. Initially weird and difficult to follow, that doesn't make it worth the investment of a careful ear and some patience. As usual the lyrics ring true with human experience, describe the period of both youth and full legal adulthood. The soft bridge builds with light acoustic guitar and comes back around to the beginning again.

"Winterthru" This second one begins with the sound of children having a fun time, then picks up with rapid acoustic guitar, frosty synthesizer, galloping bass, and quick drumming. The gentle and nostalgic chorus is simply beautiful. Here is a song about the simple joys of Christmas and childhood in general; there's even some jingle bells to help the listener get into the holiday spirit!

"Memoirs from Between" Things slow down for a song about simple wants. The gorgeous counterpoint vocals are powerful, not just in what they express, but how. Some giddy piano picks things up and introduces a harder rocking section.

"Reaping the Harvest" Thoughtful strings make up this concise but handsome interlude.

"In Every Garden" Expertly-performed vocal harmonies introduce this rapid and highly metaphoric song. It is heavily organ-based, and contains some powerful drum fills.

"A Little Nonsense" Aptly named, this goofy and unrestrained song seems to go in every direction at once. The chorus is sung a capella, only accompanied by handclaps. The Willy Wonka-inspired lyrics are certainly whimsical and give the disorderly song a fanciful air.

"The Sentimental Chain" A second interlude of sorts, this features tender flute, violin, and acoustic guitar.

"One voice" The previous instrumental bleeds into this gentle exhortation. The melody is remarkably memorable, and the lyrics are heartfelt and beautiful.

"Here I Am" Undoubtedly, the star of this track is Thomas Hyatt, who runs all over the neck of his bass guitar. The dramatic section in the middle section can be grossly unsettling, with screaming and a old clip of someone speaking (somehow reminiscent of The Wall from Pink Floyd).

"Cactapus" With such a creative title, I was not sure what to expect, but the music consists of light, shimmering guitar and airy keyboards. The lead guitar is especially pleasing throughout the composition.

"A Suite for Everyman: Only Twelve" An overture to this disjointed suite, this terse track has strings, lead guitar, and dramatic drumming. It is a positively proper introduction.

"A Suite for Everyman: A Cautious Repose" Palm-muted clean guitar introduces soft but generous vocals. While some may not hear it, I hear a real ELO vibe to this song, particularly in the vocals and the vocal melody.

"A Suite for Everyman: Bearing Down" An exciting transition from the previous section, this contains jazzier drumming, harsher vocals, and a solid organ backing. It's almost impossible to follow the syncopation with the brass bit that brings the listener to yet another excellent vocal section.

"A Suite for Everyman: Cash Flow Shuffle" This is a short, rocking, and almost Caribbean-sounding transition.

"A Suite for Everyman: Mr. Oxy-Moron" The lyrics theatrically deliver what the title suggests, a series of oxymoronic phrases tied together with quite a fun narrative. A synthesizer lead carries the listener to a Gentle Giant-like performance, full of multiple melodies and complex structures. The end of this section enjoys soft vocals over organ.

"A Suite for Everyman: Twelve's Enough" The shimmering guitar is back, this time accompanied by a synthesizer solo, all of which gives way to more tumultuous music.

"A Suite for Everyman: I am the Tide" Light and spacious, this brief segment has a short lyrics interval.

"A Suite for Everyman: Cannoning in B Major" A guest musician provides the marching snare to this seemingly pointless interruption, throughout which different musicians join in and a crowd cheers.

"A Suite for Everyman: Picture Perfect" Yet another pithy interlude, this has excellent bass, piano, and guitar involved, but things suddenly become harsh and with a pinch of attitude thanks to the introduction of a guitar fed through a wah pedal.

"A Suite for Everyman: Those That Want to Buy" After a stellar lead guitar introduction, Hyatt kicks in with a great bass groove. It situates tasteful acoustic passages alongside more vitriolic sections. The piece ends with a bass and drum finale, but the suite isn't over yet.

"A Suite for Everyman: Suffocating the Bloom" The suite ends with a mild acoustic song, laced with elegant piano, strings, bass, and percussion, and starts with a great opening lyric: "I feel that I'm always sawing through the branch that I'm sitting on." I feel that way sometimes. Maybe this is a suite for everyman.

Epignosis | 4/5 |


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