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Echobrain Self-Titled

By Vinnie Apicella, Contributor
Sunday, April 28, 2002 @ 10:36 PM


(Chophouse Records)

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An extended jam session turns into an unlikely grouping of wide-angle musicians resulting in this "new musical experience" known simply as Echobrain. Though their meeting was in fact simple, nothing comes quite that direct where the music's concerned.

The trio, founded on classic rock principles, lets varied influences run loose on an inspired and cheeky collaboration that should turn at least a few heads before they're through. Echobrain features former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted, whose desire to fulfill his own creative passions were likely stunted enough in his former band that he was ready to accept new challenges -- granted, this is as far off from a "Metallica" record as you can get and comparatively, there are none.

Echobrain's debut is a wholly collaborative effort with each of the members serving as equally functioning parts to this well-run vehicle to transport their individual talents --names like Dylan Donkin, the sometimes eerie, mostly soulful voice behind the mic and on guitar, and Brian Sagrafena, jazz-based drummer, aren't the kind of big name players you might expect to hear of in this regard... yet. Put them together and they're an emotive mix of rock and pop styles, firmly based in seventies fluff, flutter, and fusion, building upon the framework first constructed by names like Gilmour, and McCartney, later adapted and extended by the likes of Kravitz, Rush, and Radiohead.

Modern rock and acoustical elements make a big push, continually progressing one track to the next, Echobrain's depth and musicality seemingly growing in strength. "Colder World," and "The Feeling Is Over" embody a heavier spirit at the onset, while the expansiveness of the songs steadily take effect by mid point in the atmospherically laid "Adrift," "Keep Me Alive" and the string-set melody "We Are Ghosts." Further, "SuckerPunch” enters the picture in a psychedelic free flow giving in to heavy chording and features a brief six-string session by one Kirk Hammett. "Cryin' Shame" borrows from early Clapton in a lengthy jam-filled trip before breaking momentarily and concluding with a piano-run Beatles' inspired kick to conclude -- unexpected and unusual to say the least, an obvious aside they opted to through on there.

This is an album definitely created to stand on its own and in spite of the individualist talents of its members, they're cohesively well set and operate more like a million selling industry veteran. Look for big things from this low key music-first banding of footloose and focused musicians.

***1/2


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