Portland-based prog-rock project Echo Us, the brainchild of Ethan Matthews, will release a brand-new LP, The Windsong Spires, on June 22 via Absolute Probability Recordings.
Describing the album’s inspiration and ambiance, Matthews says, “For much of its history Echo Us’ lyrics have been entirely coming from a very etheric, metaphorical space. Uniquely, parts of the new album, such as the track ‘I’ll Wave You In’ are loosely about people I’ve encountered in recent years, and I think this makes the album quite a bit more down to earth. All that said, this is still the same musical space I’ve been evolving release by release since 2009’s ‘The Tide Decides’ – and that is all about instant inspiration, atmosphere, and being a servant to the energies where these ideas emanate from.”
Guesting on the album is Andrew Greene (drums, percussion), who played drums on The Tide Decides and has played with many bands in the Pacific Northwest, along with classical vocalist Charlotte Engler, who performs with Cantores in Ecclesia and Cappella Romana.
Embracing 11-tracks, the album begins with “We Seek The Descending Levers,” opening on an ethereal piano flowing into suffusions of delicate tendrils of color, akin to the score of Ridley Scott’s Prometheus. Chanting vocals imbue the lyrics with mystical energy. Glimmering colors introduce a crystalline guitar rolling into alluring prog-rock surfaces topped by Engler’s glowing angelic tones.
From a subjective viewpoint, entry points include “The Night Sky,” featuring a sparkling, elegant piano accented by percolating hues, at once gently gorgeous and gleaming. “Squalls” conjures up memories of King Crimson crossed with Rush and The Alan Parsons Project, yet rife with dreamy luster.
“Fly You Home” starts off with soft, subtle luminous tones, followed by Engler’s gossamer, silky voice. As Engler’s voice takes on penetrating power, a syncopated rhythm rumbles below, giving the tune dual layers of sonic pressure.
“I’ll Wave You In” rolls out on lysergic dream-pop coloration, bubbling with surging pigments and Engler’s deluxe, exquisite voice. The last track, “Under The Smallest Sky” offers nuanced glistening notes, akin to a nursery rhyme, yet with folk flavors. When the percussion enters, the tune takes on depth and dimension, building in timbre. The thumping dynamics of the drums accentuate the shiny guitars and Engler’s celestial voice.
The Windsong Spires not only captivates with its electrifying beauty but is assuredly one of the most original albums of the year – gloriously wrought.