Title - 'From Two Balconies'
Artist - EchoTest
For those not in the know, and having met through the Three of a Perfect Pair Music Camp in 2011, bassists Julie Slick and Marco Machera started collaborating in April 2014 to play a short run of shows in Tuscany, after Julie's European tour with The Crimson ProjeKCt.
Very spontaneously, some brand-new songs were written during a couple of days rehearsals and played to very appreciative Italian audiences. The impromptu ‘bass duets’ ended up being so satisfying and well-received that Julie and Marco eventually decided to write more material together and record an album.
Nearly one month later, Fourth Dementia (2014) was completed. It wasn't quite what one would expect from a couple of traditionally low end instruments for the recording reinvents the role of solo electric bass and brilliantly displays the songwriting abilities of the duo. Nonetheless, it's a captivating combination of loop music, ambient soundscapes and interlocking bass patterns, always melodic yet aggressive and edgy at times.
The duo, now subsequently known as EchoTest then completed the recording and production of their second effort, Le Fil Rouge (2015), also with the help of their fan base, contributing to a fundraiser on Kickstarter. And now, here in 2017, Echotest's third, and to my mind, most wholly impressive album of ten tracks is brought forth - and what an incredibly well-rounded album it truly is.
This modern prog rock band with a classic vibe that incorporates two bassists playing more than 4 strings, combined with Machera's harmonious and pitch perfect vocals; lest we forget new member Alessandro Inolti on drums, Zach Lopresti on guitar and vocals, and Jenny Founds on vocals and keyboard, have come together to bring us From Two Balconies - a release that should be in everyone's Top 10 of best albums of 2017.
Featuring guest work from Pat Mastelotto, Tim Motzer, Ali Wadsworth, Ian Gray, Greg Rosen, and Sarah Anderson, From Two Balconies is most certainly a rather distinct departure from the heavily instrumental and bass-dominated aforementioned albums of theirs, but that's not to say they have strayed too far from their successful musical path.
For here on their third album they have managed to escalate their sound, cull it even, in such a way that nothing is wasted; nothing slips through the cracks; everything sounds a lot tighter, less methodically wayward, so to speak.
Indeed, and as Slick herself as pointed out, the ten tracks chronicle a contemporary tragedy, the resulting resonance of characters trapped in a tempestuous tormented limbo. It features lead vocals on 7 out of 10 tracks where Mashera takes control of a few songs, the others run by both Mike Visser (Imaginary Tricks) and Claire Wadsworth.
It should also be made known that the incredible artwork was done by the legendary Derek Riggs and the actual package is a rather lovely, very colorful DigiPak which contains an 8 page booklet. Indeed, if you purchase this CD from their Bandcamp link (see below) there's also a mighty fine chance that both Slick and Mashera will have also signed it. Oh, and your purchase also includes unlimited streaming of the new album via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more!
EchoTest @ Bandcamp
Echotest @ Facebook
CD Purchase Link