The Winter of Our Discontent
- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2003 1 Apr
The Echoing Green has been making music for more than ten years, but they haven't been able to stick with one record company. The Albuquerque, New Mexico based synth-pop group has bounced from one Christian label to another, only to have each go out of business after an album or two. Tired of having their music go out of print with each label's demise, The Echoing Green is now content with being an independent artist on the indie label A Different Drum; it may mean fewer sales, but the business arrangements are more stable. The Echoing Green has since reacquired the rights to their past albums and released an anthology called
Now Belville and Jeter have reunited for
The Echoing Green is neither, and while they may not be as progressive as someone like Radiohead, their blend of ambience and dance beats is near perfect. If you still haven't heard them or find yourself nostalgic for '80s synth-pop icons like Depeche Mode, New Order, Code of Ethics, and Mortal, this album is for you. From the simple-yet-captivating synth intro of "Daybreak" and into the classic '80s beats of the first song, "The Story of Our Lives," the album explores the conflict of emotions between life on earth and the hope of heaven: "Anything and everything is meaningless/When forever's waiting we're captive to this place … for now." This theme—a reminder of Paul's earthly/eternal conflict in Philippians 1:21-24—is explored again in the trance music of "Someday," with these lyrics: "Someday we will leave here/And someday we might fly."
Belville and Jeter give examples of earthly pleasure and pain throughout
Also thrown into the mix are two cover songs. There's a brooding electonica version of "Bittersweet," a song originally by '90s Tooth & Nail band Velour 100, and a thrilling techno rendition of Simple Minds' "New Gold Dream" that sounds like Duran Duran's most modern work. The album closes hopefully with "Winter," a techno-trance closer which asks, "And all the prayers that I have yet to say/And all the grace I've somehow pushed away/If I look up today, can I fly away, cry away?" In response to his own question, Belville closes the song with the lyric, "From the endless ride, the hell inside/There's someone to confide."
The problem with being an indie artist is that the music never finds a broader audience. Granted, electronic pop is a niche market, and this album is easily available through several Web sites (including our links to Amazon.com). But it's a shame when music this skillfully crafted goes largely unnoticed.