Year of Release: 1992
Label: Velveteen Records
Catalog Number: n/a
Total Time: 71:06:00
Echolyn is one of those bands that takes their many influences (Gentle Giant, Dixie Dregs, Yes, Genesis, and Allan Holdsworth to name a few) and rolls them into a sound all their own. Their influences notwithstanding, Echolyn's trademark is their very sophisticated vocal harmonies, which range from melodious parallel parts to Gentle-Giant-style complexities. The instrumentation is usually rocking, but with a careful attention to arrangement and virtuoso playing. Songs frequently employ a wide dynamic range, with quiet acoustic and vocal parts giving way to high-energy electric arrangements.
A good example of their dynamic style is the song "Memoirs From Between," whose first several minutes feature all acoustic instrumentation with a quiet lead vocal accompanied by those great Echolyn harmonies. Their Genesis influence can be heard here, before the song builds into its electric section, with a more upbeat tempo, cranked guitars, rock piano, and hard-driving drumming that opens the way into a complex jazzy section featuring choral-style background vocals, which itself is followed by a powerful ending featuring a building, repeating refrain.
Another example of this dynamic presentation is the song "Reaping The Harvest," which moves from a classical-like opening to very Gentle-Giant-ish groove before setting into a medium-paced jazzy verses and choruses, which themselves turn into a rocking vocal bridge and guitar solo.
Songs like "21," "Here I Am," and "A Little Nonsense," on the other hand, rock straight through with fast-paced intricate vocals and often syncopated, contrapuntal instrumentation (Gentle Giant again) laid over sophisticated arrangements that manage to be virtuoso performances while retaining their accessibility. The jazzy, Allan Holdsworth-like instrumental, "Cactapus," also favors a consistent, yet complex, groove.
For those who like their progressive songs on the long side, tracks 11 to 23 comprise the 30-minute epic "Suite For Everyman," which takes the band through all of its many styles and moods and is a masterpiece in its own right, overflowing with inventive music and amazing instrumentation.
Although their influences peek out from the compositions here and there, Echolyn, in general, sounds like no one else. Part of the reason for this is that their style is all over the map, leaping from quiet classical-like passages into sizzling jazz and back to blazing rock, yet combining these styles into a cohesive whole. Suffocating The Bloom is a dazzling album filled with musical surprises that pop from everywhere. Essential prog-rock, for sure.
[Though it was, for a time, long out-of-print, Echolyn will be releasing a new remastered version quite soon. Check the Echolyn website for more info. Also, check out our interview with the band conducted last year . -ed.]
21 (5:49) / Winterthru (3:45) / Memoirs From Between (8:01) / Reaping The Harvest (1:41) / In Every Garden (4:39) / Little Nonsense (4:20) / Sentimental Chain (1:40) / One Voice (5:20) / Here I Am (5:21) / Cactapus (2:51) / Suite For Everyman: Only Twelve (1:17) / Suite For Everyman: A Cautious Repose (4:55) / Suite For Everyman: Bearing Down (3:49) / Suite For Everyman: Cash Flow Shuffle (0:39) / Suite For Everyman: Mr. Oxy Moron (3:23) / Suite For Everyman: Twelve's Enough (2:21) / Suite For Everyman: I Am The Tide (1:15) / Suite For Everyman: Cannoning In B Major (1:19) / Suite For Everyman: Picture Perfect (0:55) / Suite For Everyman: Those That I Want To... (6:45) / Suite For Everyman: Suffocating The Bloom (4:03)
Paul Ramsey - percussion, drums
Brett Kull - guitar, vocals
Christopher Buzby - keyboards, vocals
Tom Hyatt - bass
Raymond Weston - lead vocals
Suffocating The Bloom (1992)
...And Every Blossom (1993)
As The World (1995)
When The Sweet Turns Sour (1996)
Cowboy Poems Free (2000/2008*)
ProgFest '94: The Official Bootleg (2002)
A Little Nonesense: Now And Then (2002)
Official Live Bootleg: Jersey Tomato (2003)
As The World (2005 expanded reissue)
The End Is Beautiful (2005)
Home Brew Bootleg Stew 1994-95 (VHS) (1995, oop)
Stars And Gardens Vol 4. (DVD) (2004)
Genre: Progressive Rock