Where to begin? Echo Us’ Tomorrow Will Tell the Story is one of those rare discs that present as being quite original while at the same time dragging forth a host of reference points. Tricky prog-influenced structures, the composed sense of a “concept album” in the truest 70s sense of the word, lead vocals that ring of a young Genesis-era Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins at the same time, rhythmic echoes of the Enigma/Deep Forest school of thought, a Hebrew canticle, soundbites from Daron Aronofsky’s Pi–all this, interwoven into a suite of pieces that have managed to fascinate and delight me over a number of quite welcome repeat listens. Ethan Matthews represents the majority of music here, aided by harp from Raelyn Olson and vocals from Henta. All Matthews’ work, from guitars to keys, is full and rich and beautifully played. Even the vocal processing is excellent and playful. There are spots where bold thunderclaps of rock bombast threaten to tip the boat, but they serve their purpose. The first track, “Out of the Blue,” carries most of that weightiness, but once past that, those eruptions are few and far between, replaced by the tight, soulful mathematics of solid prog. There’s a great sense of joy throughout Tomorrow…; the feel is uplifting overall. In a video interview, Matthews notes that he’s had enough of downbeat, dark music, and looks to infuse more of this tone into his music. It’s certainly here. If you don’t get a little happy-buzz when you’re in the middle of “Archaeous of Water Vol II: The Light It Moves, La Vie En Lumiere,” you may want to consult your therapist. A percolating beat, the aforementioned canticle, a great touch of beat-dropping before picking up into a very dance-worthy stretch…it’s an inspiring piece. Same goes for “The Mirror in the Window.” Here, jazzy rock gives way to an anthemic feel with the phrase “Tomorrow will tell” swapping between Matthews’ soaring declaration to Henta’s touched-up, almost cartoonishly sweet, echo, the whole building and growing more intense. Matthews’ guitar work takes center stage mid-track in a soaring solo, and the tonal switch at the end of the track rounds out this 8-minute narrative nicely.
Overall, Tomorrow Will Tell the Story has been a great discovery for me. There’s so much going on, between the delightfully abrupt changes of tempo and structure, the bits of familiarity I pull from the sounds, and the excellent feeling it leaves in its wake. A great disc for simple listening that’s even more fun to pay close attention to. There’s a lot happening here, and you need to hear it.
Available from the Echo Us web site.