At one of their gigs (Zoetermeer, The Netherlands) of their first European tour the brother of Echolyn's keyboard player Christopher Buzby gave me a copy of the new studio album “The end is beautiful” for reviewing on progVisions. My first Echolyn gig ... amazing ... these guys know how to rock! At some times Echolyn's music can be very complicated. But that's no problem for these guys. The band had a good time. And I can assure you that the people who came to this gig had a great time too!
Christopher Buzby - Hammond B3, Hohner Clavinet, Nord piano, Wurlitzer
Electric Piano, Percussion, Samples, Backing Vocals; Thomas
F Hyatt -
Bass, Backing Vocals, Percussion; B William K - Electric guitar, Acoustic
Guitar, High String Guitar, Slide Guitar, Loops, Noise bits, Lead & Backing
Vocals; Paul Gibson Ramsey - Drums & Percussion, Backing Vocals; R
Francis W - L0-fi Piano, Fender Rhodes, Percussion, Lead & Backing vocals
Mark Gallagher - Alto & Bari Sax; Eric Apelt - Trumpet; Phil Kaufman - Trombone;
Christopher Buzby - Horn
The new album opens with the burning rocker “Georgia pine”. I'm glad that the special Echolyn ingredients are still there, complex rhythms with some references to Gentle Giant. “Heavy blue miles” includes (like “So ready” & “Lovesick morning”) a real horn section with sax, horn, trumpet and trombone. The real thing and not samples, a good choice. This is a real killer song with loads of burning guitar and keyboard parts. And as always the vocal harmonies are perfect. Then the band is slowing down a little bit with the beautiful melodies of the ballad “Lovesick morning”. Not often you hear trumpet and sax in progressive rock. Sometimes the tension is building towards a kind of climax but the climax itself is the beautiful harmony and melodies. Then it is time for “Make me sway” which includes great Hammond and Synths parts. Memories of that gig in Holland are flashing through my mind. “The end is beautiful” has sometimes a broody jazzy atmosphere. But as a contrast there are also some King Crimson guitar parts. The title track has a lot of variation and is one of the highlights on this album. The vocal harmonies in the end brings again the name Gentle Giant to my mind. “So ready” is also a beautiful track with a great melody and a burning rhythm section. Luckily the band is slowing down with the ballad “Arc of decent (Dancing in a motel just west of Lincoln)” and I even hear an acoustic guitar. The listener need this after all that power that the band is displaying on this album. It has the power of their live gigs. The album closes with “Misery, not memory” which has not only the complexity and rhythm changes of a band like Gentle Giant, but has also great melodies and harmonies.
After their progressive masterpiece “Mei” this album shows the more rockier side of Echolyn. There is a lot of power on this album. You have to listen to this album a couple of times before you see the beauty and quality of this intelligent music. Complex rhythms are combined with beautiful melodies and great vocal harmonies. With “The end is beautiful” Echolyn has again made a very strong album.