Reviews

Album Review: EchoTest, “Daughter of Ocean”

There is something special about watching and listening to a band grow before your eyes and ears. Echotest is growing by leaps and bounds.

What started out as a seemingly simple project fronted by bassists Julie Slick (whom I’ve admired for quite some time) and Marco Machera — who met at a summer music camp — has developed into a highly sophisticated, deeply experimental, chops-laden and fully progressive rock band. EchoTest started out as an instrumental progressive duo with a rotating cadre of guest musicians. They are now a full-fledged band, having added a drummer and vocalist. Because of this, they have developed a sound all their own, enabling them to take their music to new levels.

Daughter of Ocean feels like it’s picking up where its predecessor, From Two Balconies, left off. Starting with the title track, EchoTest puts its highly experimental yet deeply groovy chops on display. The band is running full-throttle by the time Jennifer Founds adds her voice to the trippy proceedings, starting with “Tiger Races.” Machero’s unique voice adds depth to the band’s sound, as it has since he started singing a few albums back. The band’s songcraft continues to mature, with tracks like “Sleep” and “Terror” penetrating the listener’s soul.

But the band doesn’t let anyone forget its progressive rock roots, as Slick (who will be back on the road with Adrian Belew soon) and Machete lead the band through the epic “No, You’re Dead/The Gate of Light” via some of the nastiest bass riffs put on record. It’s also the fastest 11-plus minutes one can experience in music.

Daughter of Ocean is the sound of a band finding itself, and then making the most of that voice. In a just world, this record would serve as a springboard to world tours and theater gigs, with accolades to be found at every stop. Time will tell if that actually comes to pass. Regardless, this is an album not to be missed.

PERSONNEL: Marco Machera (Bass V, elecronics, voice); Julie Slick (Bass VI, electronics, obscured voice); Alessandro Inolti (drum set, mangled voice); Jennifer Founds (voice); plus assorted guests

EchoTest, Daughter of Ocean (Bandcamp Link).

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