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

WHEN THE SWEET TURNS SOUR

Echolyn

Symphonic Prog


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Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
2 stars typical mid-90's US prog with a big sound (à la Magellan , Shadow Gallery or Cairo , but sounding more like Spock's Beard also) if you are into that stuff. Doesn't do much for me . As I discovered all these US band at the same time in the mid 90's , I had problems differentiating them from each other, so this has been lost on me.

In itself, the record is impeccably made with an impressive amount of work, but really I find that the album has no clear focus, and seem to head in no particular direction. Later on , other bands as Spock or Somnanbulist will give me the same problem.

Report this review (#1847)
Posted Tuesday, February 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Without a question ECHOLYN were an incredible band who produced 4 superb albums which are far too hidden from the world's ears. "When The Sweet Turns Sour" is really a collection of lost , unfinished and live tracks giving us one last supper at Bridge Mgmt headquarters. For those not overly familiar with this band, ECHOLYN blended the vocal and harmonic sophistication of GENTLE GIANT with the crashing and booming brilliance of SPOCK'S BEARD.
Report this review (#1848)
Posted Monday, March 15, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is a remarkably good odds and sods album which was envisioned as the posthumous goodbye from this band after they broke up following the As the World tour. -100 Diversions, Currents of Me, and This Time Alone are demos from the writing sessions of the never finished fourth echolyn studio album. The sound quality is not perfect, and the harmonies are often rougher than they would have been, but the songs are still quite good, especially Currents of Me, which points in parts to the rockier direction Kull, Weston, and Ramsey would take with Still, and the jazzier direction Buzby would take with Finneus Gauge. -Another Day and Patchwork were aborted songs from the As the World sessions, finished to a similar degree as the aforementioned tracks. Their sheer quality even as outtakes says much about the quality of As the World. Another Day especially could easily have fit on that classic album, fitting in lyrically with the American childhood theme that much of it contains. -Where the Sour Turns to Sweet is a good cover of a mediocre song from the first Genesis album. It was bound for a tribute album, but Sony did not allow it. -Meaning and the Moment is a fine acoustic version of a song from Echolyn's first album. In its laid back feel and stripped down arrangment, it reminds me of the ...and every blossom... acoustic EP. -As the World and A Little Nonsense are two songs from (I think) their 1995 Progfest show. The performances are tight, while providing room for improvisation, especially on A Little Nonsense, where the song's running time is doubled.

This album seems to be out of print, but is availible as part of the A Little Nonsense 3-Disc set on www.echolyn.com

Report this review (#1849)
Posted Monday, May 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
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

Report this review (#35346)
Posted Sunday, June 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
NJprogfan
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Can't say that I blame the baby on the cover. Echolyn are a remarkable US band, and the songs on this album were the last one written and recorded, (with all the bugs not ironed out) before they broke up. It's pretty much a mixed bag with most songs heavy on the lyrics, (which are superb as usual) but light on the solos. Since the songs are not produced, there's a sameyness to them, (to these ears at least). The exception is the title track which is a remake of the old chestnut by GENESIS. I like this version more for the simple fact that it's NOT as over-produced as the original. The main reason to purchase this album is for the last two tracks, live renditions of "A Little Nonsense" and "As The World". Both were taped at their last live performance before the infamous breakup. If you're a fan of the band, this would be a decent purchase if only for the two live tracks. For those looking into purchasing an album by the band, I would go with something else. It's not as bad as two stars but nowhere near four. So three sounds right.
Report this review (#79532)
Posted Saturday, May 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars This one is tough to review since it is a rarities collection, consisting of demos, covers, and alternate/live versions of previously released tracks, and not a proper album per se.

I would probably consider it my least favorite album of the group. Sour seems to be a good word to describe the overall mood of the previously unheard songs, though that's understandable given what the band had been through in the months prior to its breakup. Most of these songs are in the vein of jazz/metal/rock, with most of the usual echolyn quirks, but the lack of a polished sound serves to add murk to the bad mood, as it were. Maybe that's appropriate, in a way.

My favorite track is "The Currents of Me", since it provides a good balance of bitterness and buoyancy. I'd also recommend "When the Sour Turns to Sweet", as it is a rather rocking cover, and from what I can tell from the snippet I've heard of the original, quite an improvement. The live tracks aptly demonstrate how tight the band was in their heyday, instrumentally at least.

It's a mixed bag, and probably not something you'd want to listen to if you're in a good mood. In a way, maybe it was good that the band took a break at this point, because I think I might have lost interest if they continued in this musical direction.

Report this review (#87625)
Posted Friday, August 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
progrules
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars About a decade ago this album was one of my "blind picks". I had no idea what Echolyn was like, it was one of the better known bands at that time, so I bought this one. In the banddescription the comparison with Gentle Giant is made and rightly so, there is some resemblance especially in the vocal aspect. Alas I don't like it. I think these kind of vocals are ugly, there's no melody or nice tune there, they just produce sound. It's the same with the instrumental music more or less although they prove with "A little nonsense" that they do know what a nice guitarsolo is like, unfortunately it's the only piece somewhat worthwhile for my liking. So two stars only
Report this review (#141278)
Posted Monday, October 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This fourth « Echolyn » album is by far not their best one.

If you are looking for great synth parts, gorgeous guitar break, emotional vocals: well; this is not the album you should listen to. The first (and last?) great song is the excellent "Meaning and the Moment" during which you can almost find the ingredients I have mentioned before (except for the synths).

The most crafted "instrument" is globally the vocal department; but the "Gentle Giant" filiation is often too marked and might sound somewhat regressive in comparison with the original. Still, the overall mood is fine; the execution of the music is outstanding. But I'm lacking emotion and passion.

The more I listen to this band, the more I believe that they should better sit in the eclectic section of this site. Complex music, intricate vocal arrangements, mixing of musical styles (but deeply investigating the jazzy one) are "Echolyn" ingredients you can discover all the way through their albums.

As a whole, this work doesn't turn so sour. But it isn't that sweet either. Even if the intro part of "This Time Alone" might hold these aspects (sweet I mean). At the end of the day, this album contains "working" versions of unreleased songs (referred as such on the back cover). And two live tracks.

It is certainly not the album to start with if you are willing to investigate into this good band. "Suffocating the Bloom" is by far a better entry IMHHO.

Three stars for this one.

Report this review (#285147)
Posted Saturday, June 5, 2010 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This is generally considered to be ECHOLYN's weakest album and there is a reason for that.The band had broken up after "As The World" so this album which was released the following year was really a posthumous release. It consists of finished tracks, demos and live tunes. Overall it's surprisingly good although not more than 3 stars good in my opinion. It's just that I do enjoy it.

"100 Diversions" builds quickly as the vocals arrive.The organ and drums are prominant as they come and go. Piano leads 3 minutes in. It settles 6 minutes in with piano, guitar and drums standing out. Good song. "Another Day" is guitar and vocal led. "When The Sour Turns To Sweet" is actually a cover of a GENESIS track from their debut. Piano and snapping fingers to open followed by reserved vocals. It kicks in before a minute but settles again quickly with vocals. It picks up 2 minutes in. Fun section. Themes are repeated.

"Morning And The Moment" opens with strummed guitar as vocals join in. Some nice harmonies here. "The Currents Of Me" is impressive early instrumentally. I really like it. Vocals before a minute. The tempo continues to shift on this one. "Patchwork" opens with guitar, piano and drums but it settles quickly with vocals. I like the tasteful guitar 3 minutes in. "This Time Alone" opens with piano. It kicks in after 1 1/2 minutes. This is great. Powerful stuff. It settles back before 4 minutes. I like the synths that follow too. Themes are repeated. This is my favourite tune on here. "A Little Nonsense" and "as The World" are live tracks from ProgDay 95.

So certainly not essential but fans will enjoy this i'm sure.

Report this review (#290376)
Posted Wednesday, July 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars This album is a collection of demos, alternate takes, live tracks and such, released by Echolyn after the band appeared to be broken up for good (thankfully that wasn't so) after getting screwed by those wonderful people at Sony. As such, you can expect it to be uneven. But since this is Echolyn, although it is uneven, it is highly entertaining.

I've always preferred the more high energy songs from this band over the low key, and, thankfully, nearly all of this collection fits that description. The only low key songs are Meaning And The Moment an alternate version, but not as good as the track from the debut album, and Where The Sour Turns To Sweet a cover, and improvement to a song from Genesis' first album.

Most of the songs do not sound as polished as the ones on the official studio albums, but there is still that Echolyn style of writing and arranging, that shows intricate interplay between all of the instruments and vocal parts. And don't miss the two live tracks at the end, either.

Report this review (#308082)
Posted Wednesday, November 3, 2010 | Review Permalink
apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars What started as a dream for Echolyn, ended up to be a nightmare and led to the demise of the group.''As the world'' was warmly received by the worldwide press, but Sony refused to support them on their upcoming tour, which included a performance at Progfest 95' as headliners.Upon returning on their basis, Echolyn were dumbed by Sony and the dissapointed Chris Buzby and Thomas Hyatt left the band.Echolyn's first phase came to an end at the fall of 95', followed by a 1996 posthumous album, ''When the sweet turns sour'', released both on Cyclops and Kinesis and containing unreleased and live material.

So, most of the songs on this album are working attempts by Echolyn on new compositions, mostly recorded during the last few weeks of their existence, and, despite containing the unmet, quirky sound of the band, they sound a bit flat and uninspired as a whole.Additionally parts of the album appear as Echolyn going towards Prog Pop and some keyboard passages are certainly a bit forced and weak.Unexpected rhythm and mood changes and multi-vocal harmonies are still in the menu, it's just that most of the tracks do not sound like good, old Echolyn anymore.The symphonic elements and light, jazzy overtones have given their place to a style close to mid- to late-70's GENTLE GIANT minus the funky vibes, plus a rockier enviroment, an expression of Prog, Fusion and Pop with questionable results.The album's title refers to an attempt by the band to cover Genesis' ''Where the sour turns to sweet'', the guys certainly added their own naughty vibes, but the choice of the track would be a best fit for groups close to MAGELLAN (which they recall a little bit too much on this work) than for Echloyn.The live tracks, representing the band on stage, are ''A little nonsense'' and ''As the world'', two well-known cuts from Echolyn's repertoire, coming as a pair of impressive Prog Rock in the bunch of average recollections from the band's fading days.I want to be fair with them, parts of the unreleased pieces are trully efficient and definitely on par with Echolyn's personal musical approach, but the average production and lack of passion are more than evident throughout.

The least interesting of all Echolyn albums.Documentary recordings from the act's last days before disbanding, showcasing Echolyn at their most Fusion side with a bit of advanced Pop aesthetics.Not bad, but if you're a fan of the band you will definitely find this one lacking the absolute nerve of other releases...2.5 stars.

Report this review (#1381923)
Posted Friday, March 13, 2015 | Review Permalink

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