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CD REVIEW: Echo Slightly - Birds Fly South
By JJ Biener - 03/09/2009 - 07:15 PM EDT

Artist: Band: Echo Slightly
Album: Birds Fly South
Genre: Electronic
CD Review: Do you ever find yourself in a rut, musically speaking? I know I do. I find myself listening to the same radio stations playing the same songs over and over. There is never a conscious decision to listen to certain music and exclude others. I just fall into it without thinking. Then at some point, it impinges on my awareness that I am in a musical cul-de-sac, and I need to do something to shake myself out of it.

As a CD reviewer, I am constantly listening to new music. One would think that this exposure would be enough to keep me from the doldrums, but alas, that is not the case. To the contrary, after listening to 20 Electronica CDs or 20 Ambient CDs, they all begin to sound the same. They each may be executed well, but they fail to move me.

I was in such a mood when I put Echo Slightlyís Birds Fly South into the CD player. It was sitting on top of a stack of CDs I was planning to dig my way through in order to find material to review. I didnít expect the first CD to grab me, me but Birds Fly South did just that. I normally give a CD three tracks to make an impression before I move on the next one on the stack. On that first listen, I was at least seven or eight tracks into the CD before I remembered I had other CDs to listen to. I reluctantly moved on through the rest of the stack before returning to that first CD. This time I listened to it all the way through. This one was different. This one stood out.

Birds Fly South is a down-tempo project by vocalist Morgan Long and Stabilizer members Brad Podray and Dan Dolan. They list among their influences artists like Massive Attack, Portishead, and Tori Amos. While these and other influences can be heard in the music, donít mistake them for just another knock-off band. Echo Slightly has their own voice, their own unique sound which sets them apart from other artists.

The CD starts with the track 3rd Way. The intro places the song clearly in the realm of electronica. The sounds are nicely analog and organic sounding. Then the vocals come in. Morganís voice comes through clear and pure and strong. During a pause in the vocals, just when I was thinking the surprises were over, a guitar makes its presence known. The sound is nicely compressed and just slightly distorted. It provides a contrast to the rest of the track that completes the sound.

So it goes from track to track: fine electronic textures to underlie and support the music, engaging vocals to pull the listener in and guitars to provide power and emphasis. From The best way to freedom to Run so fast to The City, Echo Slightly delivers. They are also good for getting you out of a rut. More information and samples from Birds Fly South can be heard on their MySpace page:

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