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October 2000 Pick of the Month
Artist: The Echoing Green
Labels: Red Hill Records
Length: 10 Tracks/47:13


The Echoing Green have turned over a new leaf in their 8 year career offering a brand new set of guitar driven electronica music.  On Supernova, the group sounds less like a machine and more like a band; similar to how fans would see them perform in concert.

This project also signifies a new life as the group makes their debut on Red Hill Records.  Group founder Joey Belville is joined by vocalist Chrissy Franklin, programmer Jesse Dworak, and drummer David Adams, giving this project a Pet Shop Boys meets Duran Duran 80s styled feel.

The opening track, the disc's title cut, starts off the album with a bang.  The tune rises in volume as it goes on with guitar-based riffs, proving right from the get go the group's evolution.  The disc is also different in that it features a ballad called "Waterfall," also an uncommon occurrence on an Echoing Green album.

More true to their past are tune's like "Head Over Heart (Yesterday's Taking Over)" and the album's finale "Nightfall and Splendor."  Lyrically, this disc is the group's most mature effort as well.  For instance "Nightfall and Splendor" combines simplicity and poignancy.

"When the waters of my soul threaten to run dry, there your power holds…turning the tide."

The song "Liberation" speaks of hope coming from a dark period in one's life by completely surrendering to God's will.

"The weight of a good day gone black.  The weight of a heart under attack.  This is where I stop pretending that I'm not in need of mending…and let it go."

Despite all of the positive changes, the group may have a hard time getting out of the starting blocks, due to their new record label that's significantly smaller then their former home at Five Minute Walk.

Andy Argyrakis 9/16/2000

Joey Belville is beloved by his fans, who he insists should be known as friends rather than fans. There are good reasons for this: he's known as "the nicest guy in Christian music." He is exceedingly available to these
friends, talking to them before and after shows, freely handing out handshakes and hugs with the music and exchanging email with anyone and everyone who writes him.

All this good guy stuff would only go so far if the music wasn't cuttingthe mustard. Fortunately, Belville and his cohorts (Chrissy Franklin on vocals, Jesse Dworak on programming and David Adams on drums and
programming) have covered that base as well. Supernova is another musical triumph for the band: another album on which they stretch what's been done in the past, another album that comprises the joyfully frenetic synthpop that has been the trademark of The Echoing Green since the beginning. This CD, like the last several, continues the evolution of the band's sound, though the heavy guitar sound offered in the past by such experts as Aleixa's Kevin131 are absent here. However, much of the programming sounds guitarlike and offers much the same effect.

Supernova is also a triumph of the technical savvy of the band, which offered two tracks ("Supernova" and "She's Gone Tragic") on before the CD was released, thus building buzz for the album ahead of time. Nothing makes a prospective consumer want to buy a CD more than hearing a supercharged song like "Supernova," which is arguably the CD's best track.

As on many of their albums, The Echoing Green offers a new version of an old favorite; in this case, it's a bass-heavy version of "Defender" and a loop-laden rendition of "Thief." YMMV on these -- some will love them, and some will prefer older versions. Those longtime fans who love new versions of old songs may argue that Supernova is a step down from the high-water mark that is The Evergreen Collection, but that might be splitting hairs -- this is a very good CD in its own right.

Although the prerelease CD offers no lyrics or writing credit, Supernova is clearly due mainly to Joey's writing abilities, both musically and lyrically. Longtime fans will agree; it just sounds like Belville. And that's a very good thing. 

Unfortunately, the CD suffered from distribution problems early on: the street date was set at September 19, but Pamplin failed to get it to stores by then. Those willing to do the footwork were able to find the CD within a
few days of the original date, but one has to wonder what's wrong with labels and distribution flub the release of such a cool CD. Pamplin should know better than to alienate some of the most loyal fans in Christendom.

Lisa Reid 10/5/2000

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