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Echolyn - When The Sweet Turns Sour CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

2.94 | 98 ratings

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4 stars It's always been very hard for me to write reviews about Echolyn. This is merely due to the limitations that I face with respect to references to other artists or bands about their music. When I first purchased this CD sometime in 1999 direct from Malcolm of Cyclops (the label) I thought that I would get a kind of Genesis cover band as this album title is exactly the same with Genesis' debut album song. To my surprise, it's totally different kind of music - it's a blend of rock, fusion and avant-garde. All elements and styles merge beautifully in Echolyn's music. I have observed so far that most of Echolyn's music are not melodic. However, it does not necessary mean not enjoyable because, in fact, most Echolyn's compositions are excellent - combining complex arrangements, high energy and frequent tempo changes. I would say that Echolyn's music is original. There might be bit influences from bands like Gentle Giant - especially on choirs part, Hatfield and The North, National Health or Caravan. But it's not really obvious influences as far as my ears can detect.

The reason I grabbed this CD that I rarely touched anymore after couple of spins in the year of purchase was because of my astonishment watching the band's live DVD "Stars and Gardens" that for me was a fabulous performance. The day after, I grabbed all the studio albums available at my collection and spinning them all the whole day yesterday, including this album. This CD contains professionally recorded "working" versions of unreleased songs and two live cuts from the band's shows September 3, 1995, which was performed in North California. The "working" version of a song was used to feel out the instrumentation with the vocals.

All tracks featured in this CD are excellent and favor my personal taste. The album opener 100 Diversions (7:10) characterizes what has become the trademark of Echolyn music: fusion packed, floating vocals sung together by members (Kull, Weston and Buzby - most of the time), dynamic drumming, inventive basslines, innovative keyboard work. This kind of style is similar with Finneus Gauge's music - Echolyn's transition band. Another Day (3:29) brings the music into more complex textures during opening with brilliant keyboard work followed with guitar that accompany voice line. Sometimes the choir reminds me to Gentle Giant - even though it's totally different musically. It's an excellent track. Where The Sour Turns To Sweet (4:59) as you know is the band's interpretation of Genesis's song from debut album "From Genesis to Revelation". Wow! I like this version very much. I have never imagined that this originally simple song can be re-arranged by the band into Echolyn's style with accentuated piano work and different beats. I do enjoy this track. The band said that this old Genesis song redone in the summer of 1995 for a tribute album, unfortunately SONY would not allow Echolyn's contribution. Pity. This is GREAT arrangement that should have been included in The SUPPER's READY tribute to Genesis. I'm sure.

The opening part of The Currents Of Me (7:25) clicks me to a Gentle Giant sort of beat - but it's not really as the keyboard sound of Buzby is so specific of him. The choirs are also wonderful and have characterized the music of Echolyn. Patchwork (3:31) can be considered as full jazz exploration by the band with great piano work that serves as main rhythm section. This Time Alone (9:09) is truly an attractive track with great guitar work, powerful vocals and dynamic drumming.

Of significant importance is the featured live cuts at the last two tracks of this CD. A Little Nonsense (7:07) starts off wonderfully with powerful choirs followed with inventive piano, dynamic drumming and inventive basslines. When Weston starts to sing the music turns into more energetic style. It has a lot of changing tempos. The bass guitar solo followed with machine-gun drumming and stunning guitar solo in the middle really rule! It's completely cool man ..Believe me, this live track is so attractive to enjoy! It's rocking too. As The World (6:56) is by design an energetic and complex song with weird but wonderful vocal line augmented by bass and percussion. It flows dynamically with high energy and frequent tempo changes, mostly in fast speed. When I watched the band performed in the DVD - this track was performed flawlessly. The keyboard solo, guitar solo are all stunning!

Highly recommended. Echolyn rules! Keep on proggin'..!

Progressively yours,

GW - Review #309

Gatot | 4/5 |


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