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Gone Is Gone - Echolocation (Album Review)

Wednesday, 11 January 2017 Written by Alec Chillingworth

A group of moderately well-known musicians hang out and form a band. The internet goes mad, the hype train chugs through Supergroup Central and you think the result’s going to match the respective members’ day jobs. More often than not, though, such expectation ends with you listening in woeful denial. “He was really good in Faith No More, so this must be genius,” you think. But no, be honest, you don’t like Tomahawk’s ‘Anonymous’ album.

Mastodon’s Troy Sanders rode the train first-class with members of Soulfly, Dillinger Escape Plan and the Mars Volta for Killer Be Killed and has now decided to make a return journey with three other fairly talented gents: Troy Van Leeuwen, guitarist with Queens Of The Stone Age, A Perfect Circle and Failure; Tony Hajjar, At the Drive-In’s sticksman; and Mike Zarin, a renowned composer. Together, they are Gone Is Gone.

And the signs were positive. A ‘choo! choo!’ rattled round the ears as their self-titled EP arrived last July. Van Leeuwen’s influence reigned supreme, with the EP resembling a Failure/QOTSA hybrid on which everyone else had a bash and saw what happened. It was kinda upbeat. Fun, even. ‘Echolocation’ takes that and throws a screaming, hog-tied love interest onto the tracks.

A fraction of ‘Echolocation’ exists in an alternate universe where the EP’s character carries through and saves the day. The high-tempo alt-rock of Pawns and Gift have Sanders waxing that characteristically weird vocal and Van Leeuwen turning in an off-kilter, wiry guitar line that’s more At The Drive-In than the new At The Drive-In track. And, y’know, Sanders basically doing QOTSA basslines is pretty decent.

The album opens deceptively well, too. Zarin conjures a Hollywood-worthy blanket of ambience on Sentient, luring you in before entering an absolute pain feast, with chugging downstrokes ringing on the strings and everything fuzzed up like Mastodon in a fur coat.

The eclecticism stretches to the end of the record – completely missing the middle, but we’ll get to that – with the final two songs. Resolve plays like a world music/post-‘Heritage’ Opeth mash-up and the title track’s simple snare and bass drumbeat provides the building blocks for a pretty sizeable stab at prog.

These successful experiments aside, Gone Is Gone’s debut LP suffers because it can’t decide what it’s supposed to be. Dublin’s ominous clanging adds nothing to what is essentially a soundscape piece, the chin-stroking antics of Colourfade fail to evoke any true wine-sniffing introspection and Resurge’s QOTSA-isms shuffle along without a memorable hook. There are 12 songs here and about half of them get lost in the ether.

‘Echolocation’ is four veteran musicians, all very competent, clutching at straws instead of driving that bloody train out of harm’s way. Slow Awakening’s eventual swell shows that this group has potential to really nail that alt-rock/prog crossover, but this record is disappointingly limp considering the men behind it and the strength of last year’s EP. So that love interest, trussed up on the tracks? Yeah, they got run over.





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