The Echoing Green

The Evergreen Collection

The Collected Works of The Echoing Green 1994 - 2001

 

My #7 Album

of 2008

Released in 2003 on A Different Drum Records

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     I first learned of The Echoing Green when I bought the electronica compilation Electrapop back in 1998, which had their song “If I Could” on it.  I didn’t really care for the song, so I didn’t seek out more by The Echoing Green.

    In recent years, as I’ve become more desperate for any Christian synthpop that I could get my hands on, I decided to start digging into The Echoing Green some more.  After all, if they’d made so many albums, they must be of decent quality.

The Echoing Green began as a duo with Joey Belville and Aaron Bowman in 1992.  Other band members have included Chrissy Franklin, Jesse Dworak, and David Adams.  Despite their having released countless CDs, biographical information on this group is sketchy.

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Music Awards2009_Music_Awards.html

LINKS TO OTHER PAGES ON THE ECHOING GREEN

      Take a look at the official website the band commissioned someone to do, and paid them, but it was never finished.  Since their official website didn’t pan out, they’re now using their MySpace page as their place for the latest news.

      Check out this discography of The Echoing Green’s music at Jesus Freak Hideout.

     A side project of Joey Belville is Pristina.  The Pristina album is also in my 2008 Awards.

To previous album on 2008 awardsEver_-_The_Unraveling.html
Back to 2008 Music Awards2008_Music_Awards.html
Go to 2009
Music Awards2009_Music_Awards.html
To next album
on 2008 awardsHillsong_London_Jesus_Is_Remix.html

This page was first posted November 15, 2009 with a new hit counter added July 15, 2012

     The first CD I bought by The Echoing Green was The Evergreen Annex, which was a maxi-CD single consisting of 8 remixes from the album The Evergreen Collection.  Since The Evergreen Collection itself has one disc of remixes, this was like the extra songs that wouldn’t fit on the album.

     But finally in 2008 I bought The Evergreen Collection itself, which is a “best-of” compilation of songs from The Echoing Green’s illustrious career from nearly the beginning up to 2001 (they have continued to make CDs since then; they’re not finished yet!).  And after getting this album, I was like, “Why did I wait so long??”  I guess first impressions are lasting impressions.  If the first song I had heard by The Echoing Green had been something other than “If I Could,” I would have been onto them many years earlier.

    The Evergreen Annex has two discs, each one over 70 minutes long.  At $15.99 new from Amazon, getting almost 2 1/2 hours worth of music on this is not a bad deal in terms of merely quantity, but you also get quality.  Disc 1 has 17 tracks averaging 4 minutes per song; this disc has mostly original versions of the songs.  Disc 2 has 14 tracks of remixed versions, averaging about 5 minutes each, of some of the songs from disc 1, plus 8 other songs whose original versions are not on this collection.

     As far as quality synthpop, I’d have to say that The Echoing Green has the highest quality of synthpop of any Christian synthpop artist I’ve heard.  (Joy Electric would be equal in quality, but with the analog synthesizers that Joy Electric uses, I wouldn’t exactly categorize the sound as synthpop.)  In fact, The Echoing Green has its home on a secular label, A Different Drum, rather than a Christian label.  (A Different Drum is a label that features many high quality electronica and dance artists.) 

     The Echoing Green’s sound is generally bright and cheerful, but not cheerful in a bubblegum way; rather, it’s a kind of optimistic sound.  The lead vocals are male, with
some female background vocals added from time to time.  At the time their 2000 album Supernova was released, there were four band members:  Joey Belville, the founder; Jesse Dworak on programming, David Adams on drums and programming, and Chrissy Franklin on vocals.  It appears, though, that Joey Belville is the guiding force of this band.

     Their sound could be considered to be in the same genre as synthpop groups such as Book Of Love, Anything Box, Erasure, or perhaps even (this is stretching it a bit) Pet Shop Boys.

     That’s the sound of their original songs.  One thing I like about The Echoing Green is that they release lots of CDs with remixes of their songs.  The remixes are more straight out dance music, with the beat and electronics up front and the vocals not as up front as in the pop versions.  Of course, remixes vary depending on who is doing them, but overall, the remixes of The Echoing Green songs make for some great dance music.

 

     The Evergreen Collection begins with a brief synthesized strings instrumental to warm you up, then breaks into a cheerful opening female voice, “Every girl and boy...” with the male voice responding, “...defend your joy!”  I really like this one both musically and lyrically.  Another favorite of mine is “Face Of God,” with its power chord electric guitars, bright synthesizers and soaring chorus....”and touch the face of God.”

     On this album, there are two versions of “Oxygen.”  I much prefer the remix, a cool bassline chill version that I have put on one of my Christian downbeat dance chill mixes.  “If there was one thing left I could embrace, it’d be Your face, it’d be Your grace; when I think I drown in all my sin, I take You in like oxygen...You’re the air I breathe....”

     While some of the songs, like “Oxygen,” have a vertical focus, the majority of the songs, while generally explicitly Christian, have more of a horizontal focus, in other words, songs about people and situations and living the life of faith.

     The Evergreen Collection has been my full introduction to The Echoing Green.  With Christian synthpop being so hard to come by, I am glad to find a quality synthpop group whose music I like, who has lots of albums so that I can continue to acquire new music in this genre that I like so well.