Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Echoes The Fall Restarts With An EP

When Phoenix-based Echoes The Fall (ETF) released Bloodline in 2009, no one could have predicted the amicable shake up, rearrangement, and rapid ascension that followed two years later. Even if someone did, they could have never foreseen the instant chemistry a new frontman and second guitarist could bring.

For the core members — Michael Gable (guitar), Trevor Keeling (bass), and Mitch Gable (drums) — it must seem long overdue. They've played together for six years; three years as Echoes The Fall (2008) and three years under the retired moniker Hillside (2005).

But this year, with the addition of Jeromy Moorehead (vocals) and Myles Byrum (guitar), ETF found themselves on an aggressive schedule, recently touring as an opener for bands like Drowning Pool and 10 Years. Some might even make the case they are too good to open. With a longer set list and larger fan base, they could be thisclose to headlining.

The new self-titled 4-track EP is something between a fresh start and a spectacle. 

The lineup isn't the only change made by the band. The original demo work in 2008 that led up to Bloodline was primarily written by Michael and Mitch Gable. The EP and subsequent songs for an anticipated album in 2012 is more collaborative, including some assistance from outside the band.

"All Echoes The Fall band members have a fair share in these songs," says Mitch Gable. "The idea was to write about 25 songs so we had a lot of material to choose from. Joey Avalos also came in to work with us on songwriting. And from there, Jasen Rauch took the songs and started preproduction."

Avalos (guitarist, Stars Go Dim) is an accomplished and award-winning songwriter, musician, producer, and co-owner of of ETF's management team, JMA Music. Rauch is the former rhythm guitarist and (still) songwriter for alternative rock band Red. He also wrote songs for Breaking Benjamin and Pillar.

All this is not to say that the very hands-on management team, who also matched Moorehead with the band, call all the shots. Gable mused that as soon as the band arrived to begin recording at the Tennessee studio, they started to change everything for reasons other than those you might think.

"We have all been through so much in our lives individually so we write about life," says Gable. "We don't think there is anything better than to write about life in a way that relates to people."

And if there is one consistency since the earliest ETF beginnings, that is it. Every member of the band has a true desire to connect with and relate to people through their music and on the stage. So, while scratching out compositions might feel right on paper, nothing is truly final until the band has an opportunity to hear how the songs feel in a studio and how they might play out on the stage.

There is something to be said for their approach. It's one of the reasons the band has earned a solid reputation in Phoenix, known to be hard market to break out of. It also seems to have helped them land some of their biggest opportunities to date.

"Phoenix is definitely a tough market for up and coming bands," said Gable. "We have great fans in Arizona so we can't complain, but we also love touring, especially with epic bands like Drowning Pool and 10 Years. It's an experience of a lifetime and we're taking full advantage of it."

Fans might call it mutual, given the work ETF put in during their six-week studio session. All four tracks off the EP are worth the listen, with the front three — This Is Not Goodbye, Because Of You, and Start Over Again — representing the strongest progression. The fourth, Burn It Down, is constantly listed as one of the best received by live audiences.

What works especially well for ETF is the band's ability to deliver a rich, full sound underscored with aggressive hooks and big riffs. Every song is remarkably fluid, carrying along Moorehead's harmonies until the arrangement leaves openings for more finesse on drums, guitars, and bass.

The Self-Titled EP From Echoes The Fall Hits 7.6 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.

The self-titled EP is a strong restart for Echoes The Fall, easily priming the band for a full-length album as early as summer 2012. According to Gable, they are already writing new songs between tour dates. But as it stands now, they have four solid songs about life, with an emphasis on heartbreak and resolution that comes with change.

The Echoes The Fall self-titled EP is available on iTunes. Echoes The Fall can also be found on Amazon as downloadable MP3s. The EP is remarkable for the band in that the lineup changed a few weeks before entering the studio. It also earns Avalos and Rauch an extra nod from a band who admires their multiple successes in the "tough music biz." They helped us grow as musicians, Gable said.
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