Album: At The End Of Myself
Label: Self released
Review: Jason Spencer
Thoughts: I don't know, where do I start on this album? Sometimes you'll listen to an album and be crushed by the weight of its musical awesomeness. Other times, however, you will connect on a very personal level with both the music and the lyrics. Echoes Of Giants' debut album At The End Of Myself (2013) is one such album. I admit that it caught my eye mainly because of the Riverside-esque title, but this band is nothing like Riverside musically.
Echoes Of Giants is a band from Missouri, USA, which isn't exactly the hotspot for prog in the US. But these guys have something that many bands completely lack: soul. This music has spirit, soul, and intelligence that are beyond so many others. There is an emotion within this album that feels so alive and palpable, so undeniable and engaging. So human. I found a connection with it that is so intensely personal that I feel that this album will be one of my favorites for many, many years to come.
But what is that connection? The general theme of this album is found in its title: learning to let go of one's self. This album addresses personal feelings of wretchedness, thoughts of depravity, and hope in a cure. It's a journey of sorts, a spiritual one. "Can a filthy rag be made clean?' Yes, it strikes me deeply. It addresses groanings too deep for words. And it does so without an iota of cheesiness.
The lyrics, however, would be nothing without great music, and Echoes Of Giants gives us that in spades. This band has a keen ear for beautiful melodies, and also gives attention to time signature changes that really mean something. Sometimes, I find bands trying to be so technical that any amount of technique begins to mean nothing. This band is mature enough already to understand what technique is really meant to do: to supplement the music. They do quite a good job with structuring this album, as the first seven tracks are all part of the title song. There is also another three track song called "My First Breath" later in the album that I find to be both lyrically and musically compelling. The band just has a way of making nostalgic guitar lines that are further bolstered by the excellent keyboard work. Their musical and vocals hooks really grab you.
Therefore, this album is not a technical feat. It contains excellent performances, still. The band is made up of three individuals, while the vocalist is a guest singer named Joey Myers. I think they need to get him on board, though, as his vocal style is simple, melodic, and quaint. It fits the music perfectly. As for the instruments, the band provides a great mix of fantastic acoustic guitar lines that seem to transition into electric without a hitch. The drums are also appropriate, but still more than proficient. Also, the keys on this album are a real treat. They often drive the melodies, and there is a good variety of tone. I also find the bass to be very foundational to the rest of the music and excellently performed. Lastly. there are some other more novel instruments used, such as the Malletkat and other percussion instruments. These add an even proggier feel to the music.
I cannot recommend this album enough for those that like thoughtful, lyrically-rich music. The music itself lends itself to the introspective mood, and I believe that's how it should be. This album explores the soul of the writer, and I find that to be far more interesting than any amount of showboating. This album is a work of art, pure and simple.