Almost two years in the making, Guelph band Mandroid Echostar‘s first EP was released on their Bandcamp page for free download (I highly recommend donation, though) on April 22, 2012. I was lucky enough to get an advanced CD copy of this 4 track EP and have listened to it almost constantly since.
Right out of the gates, Kingdom And The Crown, starts quickly and surprises the listener. Maybe not every listener, but me anyway. The song, and whole EP actually, is clean and uncluttered sounding. Nothing seems mixed down too low or up too high. Every instrument is clearly heard and balanced, including the vocals. This gives the EP a fresh dynamic, or at least one you haven’t heard in a while. Instead of everything being drenched in distortion and overdubbed to make the music stand out or “Heavy”, Mandroid Echostar have taken a different approach, using riffs, balanced production and a vocalist that actually sings rather than whines. Kingdom And The Crown grabs you with it’s uptempo riff right away and within a minute thirty, of the 5 minute opening track, you’re already treated to a really understated, but perfectly situated guitar solo. If that’s not your kind of thing it’s okay, you get a blistering fast solo about half way through Kingdom And The Crown.
Were Mandroid Echostar bold enough to launch with a concept EP? Lyrically you start to notice certain themes woven throughout. Lost Luminaries gives you a completely different flavour musically. Tempo/tone changes, almost choir-like vocal backing at some parts, that growl that only, guest vocalist Adam DL Lambert of Farewell To Freeway, can deliver, and bongo drums(?). You might be able to hear The Precursor on any rock radio station. It’s hook is simple and catchy but also has all the elements of a great rock song. It makes you a little sad or thoughtful about two minutes in, but turns those emotions into hope or determination, with a guitar solo and a sing-a-long, chant-like, fade out, lead by singer Michael Ciccia. And then there is HEXATON!
The intro to Hexaton is like a guitar telling you the saddest story it knows, but you lack the empathy to understand why the story is sad. So the guitar, bass and drums build into desperate frustration to explain, getting faster and more intense. You still don’t understand. The vocals come in, calming everyone else down, to try to mediate the situation, but to no avail. Now all the members of Mandroid Echostar are working together in a passionate frenzy in hopes that you may have the emotion within you to understand WHY the intro guitar’s story was so sad. And then it happens. Mandroid Echostar slap your ears across the face (yep, Adam DL Lambert again). And then it’s over. It’s silent and you suddenly realize how sad the story was but it’s too late.
Is that kind of story telling is too dramatic for you? Then you might not be ready for Mandroid Echostar. With dynamic musicianship, production and song writing that is refreshing this EP was worth the wait. Mandroid Echostar use their imagination to take you on an adventure that you won’t regret.
Download Mandroid Echostar for free on their Bandcamp.