Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Hello once again fellow progheads and welcome to my closet.  Amazing how fast Tuesday creeps up on us, isn't it?  Spent the past week looking in dark and previously unvisited corners of the closet library in search of yet another completely new prog sound.  Ironically what I discovered sounded both old and new; a
"retro-neo-modern-throwback-futuristic look at today" kind of band...or as I prefer to think of them--another new progressive band with hints of history...

If my opening paragraph failed to give it away, I am referring to Echolyn, a band I have really come to enjoy listening to.  Echolyn has a sound that is reminiscent of Yes, Gentle Giant, and Genesis to name but a few. The music takes me to a time and place I remember fondly from my first encounter with progressive music.  Yet at the same time Echolyn has a sound that is bold and new.  Imagine Chris Squire and Brian Eno performing with Firegarden and you start to get the feel for which universe Echolyn travels in.

But enough talk--time for music.  My first selection for review this week is "My Dear Wormwood."  Right away I get the impression Echolyn has both a sense of humor and a deep appreciation for classics.  The song opens rapid-fire with keyboards, drums, and guitar all blending into a mild, organized, cacophonous-like sound that is topped by strong vocals.  The music is very good...I believe C.S. Lewis would be proud. It is clean, crisp, and leads the listener on a journey through a labyrinth of sounds that finish as quickly and abruptly as they started.

Moving right along the music buffet, I stop at another tune called, "One Brown Mouse."  Recognizing the Jethro Tull title I half expect a poor cover of a great song--and I could not be more mistaken.  If I close my eyes and focus solely on the music I swear Ian Anderson is singing lead vocals here.  Echolyn has captured the essence of Tull and put together an incredible cover/tribute.

Liner notes...Echolyn is currently Brett Krull on guitars and vocals, Paul Ramsey on drums and vocals, Ray Weston on bass and vocals (sensing a pattern here?), Christopher Buzby on keyboards and vocals, and Thomas Hyatt on bass and vocals.  So everyone sings and there are two bass players...I knew they were unique!  Brett, Paul, and Ray left Narcissus in 1988 after tiring of the cover band scene.  In 1989 they were joined by Christopher and formed Echolyn; Thomas signed on during the recording of their first album.  Echolyn seems like a very tight knit family and they sound as though they have been doing this a lot longer than their resume states.  Peeling the onion back one layer at-a-time, I discover that Echolyn has indeed dealt with growing pains.  A long dispute with Sony records--suits who apparently don't understand what progressive music is--left the band without a label or a recording contract for a while.  Fortunately (like family does) Echolyn rebounded and responded with enough of a chip on their shoulder to produce more fantastic music--but not so arrogant that they became the soulless suits they left behind at Sony.  No; Echolyn is alive and well and proving that you can go home after all...

Just because I can, I go back to the buffet for another helping of music mastery...and discover "The Cardinal and I."  Echolyn is a small venue band with a large venue sound and they pull that off with no fanfare.  Echolyn seems to thrive on the intimacy of knowing their audience and cranking out music that defies the size of their set.  "The Cardinal and I" drips with the essence of  Gentle Giant and the deep thinking lyrical ability of  early Genesis.  But the crazy part is Echolyn acts more like a chameleon than a hermit crab--they may remind you of a band or sound, but they do not steal.  Echolyn is to prog today what Buddy Holly was to rock 'n' roll in 1957...a much needed wake-up call.

The piece posted below is "A Suite For The Everyman."  This song not only hops through the phases of prog in one sitting--it leaps through time itself.  When I close my eyes I hear everything from King Crimson to Porcupine Tree to early Queen coming through the speakers...Echolyn has found a way to channel the best that both prog and classic rock have to offer.  I only posted Part I; you really need to go out and get Part II and Part III for yourself...musical salve for your ears. You can learn more about the band at www.echolyn.com.

OK fellow progheads I hope you enjoyed this week's installment as much as I did.  With music like this on the prog landscape I feel a sense of calm...progressive music is not only alive and well--it is being cared for and nurtured quite nicely.  I don't know where we will end up next week but I do know this--it has been one helluva journey so far and I don't ever want to stop...so until next week...

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