Lives & Times — The Great Sad Happy Ending
(SI Music Simply 57, 1994, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 1995-07-01What remains to be said about Lives and Times? Their style has not changed markedly since their last release Waiting for the Parade less than a year ago (reviewed in issue #5), although it does seem to be in a continued state of refinement and improvement. They are now three, adding bassist/drummer Andy Skitrall to the lineup. The real drums, when used, have a dramatic impact on the overall energy of the material. Vocalist Lorna Cumberland brings an eerie atmosphere to the vocal material, recalling Dead Can Dance, Cocteau Twins, and other 4AD type artists. But this time three of the eleven tracks are entirely instrumental, including the ten-minute "Wired to the Moon," and unlike the lengthy instrumental on the last album, this one really works, and all three provide a nice rest from Lorna's voice at key points throughout the album's fifty minutes. Overall, The Great Sad Happy Ending shows a marked improvement in the band's sound, while essentially being a continuation of their existing style. Their best effort to date.
Related artist(s): Lives & Times
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From the press release:
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water takes from Echo Us' past and spins it into a whole new direction, one closer to traditional acoustic Celtic music than ever before.
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water was composed and recorded during the first few months of 2017. Although Celtic influenced and comprised of a number of re-workings of Irish folk tunes and Breton aires, the album is still in large part new and original Echo Us music that fits right in the Echo Us ‘canon’. “Wake” is a natural progression from “A Priori Memoriae”, which was released to critical acclaim in Europe in 2014.
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is Echo Us’ ‘Celtic’ album that was planned for a long time but never executed because of the work on the trilogy that came before it. The album title is a typical ‘Echo Us’ play on words which one can find their own meaning.
“It is also both evocative of the Oregon rain, which I am told is not too unlike the rain in Ireland.”(Matthews)
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is also a comment on conception- which was unintentional when the lyric was written. Matthews surprised himself a few months after writing it, realizing that the song was actually about the nitty gritty, biological workings of what happens when a child is conceived. The folk song it derives from musically describes a courting ritual, one that even today we can all relate to in our own way.
“Come With Me Over the Mountain" in acapella was the musical inspiration for the song, and came into my consciousness after the lyrics were written a few months prior. “ (Matthews)
As with all Echo Us recordings, a number of seeming coincidences resulted in connections being drawn where prior there were none. Another experience of similar capacity was found in oboe samples from A Priori Memoriae that echoed the traditional “May Morning Dew’, also reworked for guitar on the new album.