Echo Strike – ‘Not Inside Your Mind’ review by Planet singer

Every artist is different, and when it comes to solo singers and musicians, it is always intriguing to discover what’s behind their art. At the same time, from this point of view, I always found bands even more interesting; every band member has its own story, past, and approach to music and the coexistence in a band setup brings unpredictable connections that result in fantastic music. Bands like Echo Strike prove that when the chemistry between the band members is strong, it reflects in the art they create. Today, at Planet Singer, we have the great pleasure of listening to their latest album, “Not Inside Your Mind,” a release that will steal your attention from the first song to the last!

“Not Inside Your Mind” follows the band’s previous full-length album “Honest Lies,” an incredible release that showed its potential! With their new album, Echo Strike is back stronger than before. Brand new energy and the exciting blend of Rock, Electro-Funk, and Pop strongly characterizes their sound, all revisited with a fresh and energetic appeal. These guys are great musicians and songwriters; one of their strengths is the rare ability to turn their music into real-life experiences, capturing the moment and the emotions with their catchy tracks.

The outstanding work done on the whole album is evident in fantastic tracks like the opening “Catch Me,” a powerful song that captures the entire album’s real essence with great vocal lines, catchy guitar riffs, and a tremendous rhythmic section! In the album, we can also appreciate the Electro-Pop of “Give It a Try,” the smooth and Alternative Rock vibes of “Just Fly,” the intense “You,” and the late 90s Pop vibes of “All the Way Home.” The album is closed by “Go,” another incredible track that closes the circle of an awe-inspiring album that proves how artistically valid and mature Echo Strike’s guys are!

Echo Strike – ‘Not Inside Your Mind’ review

Echo Strike is the product of frontman Randy Van Gelder in collaboration with guitarist Beau Newlin and producer Jonathan Broussard. Together, they produced a solid debut album, Honest Lies, a record that had been slowly developed over many years by Gelder.
A year later, the band has more than doubled since its initial incarnation, sporting a hefty line-up of seven members (now with the introduction of members Homer, Zeta, John and Angel) that contributed to the band’s most recent release, Not Inside Your Mind. In contrast to Echo Strike’s earlier work, Not Inside Your Mind shows a certain maturity for the band’s sound and clarity of vision and direction. It is clear that with this most recent
addition to their discography, they are more sure than ever of their signature and unafraid to step into a role of their own unique making.

Not Inside Your Mind holds it own conceptual grounding as it effortlessly works through thirteen tracks, each of which exhibits skilful diversity and combination of styles and techniques found in various other genres. Overall, one could describe Echo Strike’s sound on this album loosely as ‘rock’, but we all know that such an umbrella term could mean literally anything and very vastly misses the mark on decoding the sound this band
have carved out for themselves in this record. On the flip-side, this is also general enough to touch on a large part of the dynamic and diverse elements to their sound. Each song has its own unique flavour, yet as a full album Not Inside Your Mind brings a strong consistency and grounding all throughout the album. We hear elements of conventional rock and classic ballad songwriting, and one could argue this is

the foundational make-up of the sound, but it is blended skilfully with instrumentation and production styles found across all manner of music. Strong acoustic drums are interchanged and combined with programmed electronic beats to support them. Similarly, we hear electric guitars provide a
substantial drive throughout the whole album, with cliche but aptly-placed and wellperformed solos placed throughout many of the songs, and in many other places we hear keyboards build an electronic atmosphere around the songs that give them each a deeper ambience and density.

On this note, it’s easy to praise the production quality of this album. The recordings are clean and the production is crisp. Clearly a lot of time and effort was put into the album to ensure it achieved a balance of each diverse element within the music. This I often quite
difficult to achieve when there is a combination of acoustic and electric instrumentation with electronic production on top of it. It is usually very easy to discern the difference between the two, but the production is very well spread and mixed to exhibit a perfect equality between all of the elements. This might, to some degree, work against itself too, causing some of the elements to not be as immediately obvious or full of character as they perhaps could be. Similarly, the vocal and lyrical style sometimes struggles to compete equally with the rest of the music, occasionally allowing itself to seem not as polished or engaging as they deserve to be and can let down the rest of the music. But regardless of this, as one cohesive whole, the album (and the band) stand up strong with its own unique sound that is very much unique to itself. Together, they skilfully conjoin their variously styled elements into something greater than the sum of their parts and the subtlety of this stylistic blend makes for an interesting listening experience indeed.

As an album, the sequencing of tracks flows very well into one another, sometimes almost too well, leading to the feeling of too much similarity between each song.

However, as one cohesive listening experience, it packs a punch even if it might occasionally feel as if it isn’t straying too far from a singular direction of theme and sound. Yet, the variation can be found in the subtleties and details of each track, where production techniques vary to spice up the background of each track as the regular instrumentation maintains a certain stability and consistency. It is difficult to achieve a well sequenced album correctly and while Not Inside Your Mind could benefit with some more energetic change-ups in style on occasion,
it nevertheless manages to move fluidly through each track as it perpetuates its sonic grounding.

Overall, Not Inside Your Mind is a strong achievement and a creative second contribution from Echo Strike. Under the creative guidance of Gelder, this seven-piece group know how to project their sound in as cohesive a way as possible at this point in their sonic development. They have clearly put a lot of time and effort into the design and creation of this album. From solidly written songs to masterful technicality and subtlety of performance to a well-rounded production style that polishes everything in a way that is very notable for its own self-completion, Not Inside Your Mind is an enjoyable listen for those interested in a slightly different approach to the pop-rock genre. While it is not without its shortcomings,
this album definitely asserts itself as a grounded and durable release that will hold a special place for its audience. The popularity it has already achieved (over 189,000 listeners on Spotify) testifies to this fact and there is no doubt that it will only continue to grow as it reaches more ears eager to discover Echo Strike’s refreshing approach of musical style. A solid album that is certainly worth experiencing!

Echo Strike – ‘Not Inside Your Mind’ review by Rebecca Cullen

Echo Strike’s electro-pop meets pop-rock creative freedom joins forces with heartfelt songwriting and warming melodies throughout this colorful, considerate new full-length album.

Beginning with an electro-soaked Catch Me, the project quickly introduces a thoughtful, self-reflective manner of songwriting, with a gentle, accessible vocal and contemporary production effects, to guide us through these meandering thoughts and poetic observations.

It’s refreshing to hear the funk-guitar rhythm in the backdrop to the opening song, and actually – this blending of electronic and organic elements stands tall throughout this album. With Give It A Try, we’re welcomed by a hypnotic piano-part,

and doubled vocals that offer an eighties-esque, nostalgic core for what proves another intimate and personal hit of writing.

Follow this with a guitar riff-led Like Candy, and eclecticism is already crystal clear. At the same time, we recognize the vocal tone, the style of the lines, the self-expressive writing, and so there are multiple threads to cling to throughout the playlist.

The aptly-titled album intrigues and holds attention for its seemingly mind-focused yet observational story-telling. And all the while, we get more than a few softly memorable hook melodies left lingering when it all comes to an end.

Other highlights include the dreamy guitar-pop piece that is Just Fly – a nearly whispered, inspiring and beautiful, simple yet satisfying song, with a brilliant rise up through its all-inclusive, welcome sections.

Optimism is key throughout much of the project, and indeed within most of our lives lately, so these songs prove an easy must. Let It Shine draws thought towards this all the more so, with gorgeously entrancing harmonies to reinforce the concept.

You is a stylish, stand-out pop-rock hit with an addictively simple and catchy progression. It’s Alright has a similar confidence and weight to it, as does a soulful and retro-toned, somewhat uncertain and contemplative, provocative Revisionist. “History is made by those who win, in the end…”

The Search is another slightly melancholic, uncertain highlight towards the end, with a sense of urgency musically – another prompt to consider Echo Strike as a live act. Then Perception talks of dreams, the other side, the unknown – it’s not all brightness and hope, there’s a backbone of realism to much of this album, and that helps the songs connect in a more genuine way.

Go finishes things up with a light dance-pop anthem and multiple layers of hypnotic melody and movement. Not Inside Your Mind works its magic in full with an interesting fusion of natural musicianship, retro production, and contemporary, deeply human songwriting. It’s a refreshing alternative listen, and really well put together.

Original Source: https://stereostickman.com/music/echo-strike-not-inside-your-mind/

Echo Strike – ‘Not Inside Your Mind’ review by legallyblack

“Not Inside Your Mind” is the sophomore record from pop rock band Echo Strike, following the release of their debut album “Honest Lies” last year. With that previous album, the eight-man band – led by vocalist Randy Van Gelder –  delivered a collection of songs with breezy, pleasant-sounding production (with sonic influences of jazz, blues, new wave and electronic music) and simplistic (thankfully, not TOO simple given its obvious adult contemporary audience) yet catchy lyrics and hooks.

According to their official website, the band’s first world tour was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Randy found himself stranded in Argentina. Like many creatives the world over, Randy sought not to let this unforeseen circumstance deter him from continuing his creative output. And so he started writing and composing the songs that will become the 13-track “Not Inside Your Mind” album with virtual assistance from his fellow bandmates.

Even if you go into this record not knowing about the pandemic-led creative process behind it (like I did, I’ll admit), its overarching theme of being unafraid of stepping out of one’s comfort zone is made clear from the opening track (and one of its singles) “Catch Me” onwards. And while on the surface, Randy expresses this theme in an external fashion (i.e. literally getting out of your house and opening yourself to new experiences), there’s also an internal, emotional subtext to what’s being addressed on this record. However, Randy wisely suggests to the listener – and pretty much ANYONE dealing with these quarantined times – to not stay cooped up “inside your mind” out of fear, concern, anger or pain.

On “Catch Me”, Randy sings from the perspective of someone whose personality has changed so drastically due to a new lease on life, it’s almost like he’s someone else. He uses running phrases to compare his current track record with the lives of his assumedly-contented peers  – and even dares them to keep up with him on the hook

(“Catch me if you can / I’m running faster than you can / Count to three and you won’t see me / I’m gone no sooner than”). Coupled with its sunny, vibrant production, this is a solid start to the album!

Another theme on “Not Inside Your Mind” is external acceptance of one’s maturity or change, particularly in a relationship. On “Give it a Try” (another album single), Randy encourages his significant other to look past his past mistakes and give him another chance. Interestingly, this is the only track that includes the album title in its lyrics (“There’s only one place to hide / And it’s not inside your mind”). He also encourages her to spend the rest of her life with him, whilst becoming better people in the process, on the airy, cheerful track “Just Fly”. I really dug the heartfelt lyrics on this track, in addition to the watery guitars on the beat and the ethereal vocalizing on the bridge.

Doubt and concern are completely non-existent on the genuinely sweet and sincere ballad “You” where Randy declares his love for the girl of his dreams. I dug the 80s new wave throwback vibe to this track (particularly in the song’s composition), and I couldn’t help but think of beloved ballads from that era from bands like Spandau Ballet and Tears for Fears (who I imagine were inspirations for Echo Strike’s style and sound). Off its sticky hook alone, I can imagine “You” being a go-to wedding song and a concert sing-along song in the near-future.

Speaking of sing-alongs and sticky hooks, “Let it Shine” is one of those songs that I’d personally love to see performed live in front of a large crowd. Easily the most inspirational cut on the album – and one of my favourite tracks PERIOD, this song includes words of wisdom in regards to learning from your mistakes, taking chances and risks, being unafraid to live life and most importantly, being the best person you can possibly be.

There are a few ‘party’ songs on “Not Inside Your Mind” like the club-to-the-after-party track “Like Candy”, another favourite of mine. Thanks to its toe-tapping, 80s retro, synth-based production, playful and slightly risqué lyrics and irresistibly catchy hook, “Like Candy” is an absolute standout on the album – and dare I say, much deserving of a 80s-style music video! In addition, there’s the smooth, laid-back joint “Dig In” where Randy and his girl get a taste of the nightlife, both being overwhelmed by its pleasures and each other.

However, not everything on this record is bright and sunny, or in the case of the party songs, neon-lit or club-based. On “Revisionist”,

arguably the darkest song on “Not Inside Your Mind”, Randy rejects a former friend of his (it’s implied that this person either stabbed him in the back or broke his heart – or both) and warns this person of the inevitable karma to come. The nocturnal production fits the cold tone of Randy’s lyrics perfectly, and while completely unexpected, his jazzy, Michael Jackson-esque scatting on the bridge played out way better than I initially expected!

The penultimate track “Perception” (which admittedly I was lukewarm to at first, but grew to appreciate with more listens) feels like a self-aware sequel to “Catch Me”, where Randy confronts his ‘improved self’ at a figurative mirror, questioning whether his new lease on life was all a façade, or how long it’ll take for his ‘old self’ to be revealed to the world, shattering the image currently in front of him. Closing the album off is the poignant track “Go” which can be viewed thematically from two perspectives; the protagonist realizing that in order to truly live his life, he must let go of the failing, toxic relationship which keeps him emotionally and mentally enslaved, or him feeling like an imposter, unable to fully accept his personal growth (due to his inability to move on from the past) and rejecting the one person who truly accepted him, flaws and all. And while it’s not an overly bitter song, you can tell Randy’s had enough of this girl, and is eager to seek the life – whatever it is and wherever it takes him – he always desired (“I don’t believe / You can’t redeem / So give me the key / To unlock the mystery”).

Like its title suggests, “Not Inside Your Mind” doesn’t require you overthink or examine every emotion expressed or lyric sung. And while it’s easy to sink into the album’s sonically gratifying production and straight-forward, uncomplicated lyrics, that’s not to say there isn’t some level of depth and meaning to the songs on it. As a whole, I found this record to be a considerable improvement over “Honest Lies” and a surprisingly consistent and well thought-out one at that. Its themes of getting out of one’s headspace and comfort zone, taking chances, making decisions for the better and living life to the fullest are strong, relevant, emotionally resonant and beautifully expressed through Echo Strike’s music. If you’re looking for something inspirational, relatable and life-affirming for your current pop rock/alternative rock/adult contemporary playlist, I highly recommend adding “Not Inside Your Mind”!

OVERALL RATING: Light to decent 4 out of 5 stars.

Original source: https://legallyblack.com/echostrike

Echo Strike – ‘Not Inside Your Mind’ review by Upstream

Not Inside Your Mind is the new pop/rock album from Echo Strike.

Although relatively new on the music scene, Echo Strike has actually been in the making for a while. Lead singer, Randy Van Gelder, envisioned what the musical project would be a long time ago, and then began to steer the formation of the group. In 2018, Beau Newlin, the guitar player, and Jonathan Broussard, the producer, joined Randy Van Gelder and they all began to put the vision of Echo Strike into action. Their first album together was Honest Lies.

Later in the year of 2018, Randy then began looking towards Argentina in order to scope out some more talent for the band. Having been well connected to the Argentinian music scene, Randy felt it was the perfect place to look for new members that could complete Echo Strike. There he found Homer, Zeta, John, and Angel.

Collectively as an entire band they were due to embark on their first tour in March 2020. Obviously, due to the pandemic, this was unfortunately canceled.

Waiting out the pandemic in Argentina allowed Randy to explore his more creative side and he delved deeper into musical writing and creativity. This was when Not Inside Your Mind was born.

The album opens with the catchy track, Catch Me. With incredibly danceable rhythms and electronically enhanced vocals that echo Daft Punk’s style, infused with the Echo Strike’s indie/rock flair, Catch Me is the perfect track to open the album and set the scene for what’s to come.

Just Fly takes the music back to a more traditional rock sound, with two guitar tracks overlaid that is reminiscent of 90s rock bands such as Soundgarden. The thoughtful lyricism used in Just Fly will satisfy anyone searching for a more in-depth and emotional touching song within the album.

Closing the album is one of the most musical creative songs on the album. Go displays Echo Strike’s signature vocal sound, with a guitar backdrop producing unique chord progressions. A very small electronic music interlude in the song pushes the band’s sound into even newer territories.

The inspiration behind the new album was, of course, influenced by the current state of the world and the conditions that many people were living in. However, other themes such as racial injustice are also featured on this creative album. The band notes that the album is ‘ultimately a positive album about never being trapped in your own head.’

Original source: https://upstream.com/echostrike

We look at Echo Strike new album accompanied with an exclusive interview

Echo Strike has arrived but it is years in the making and lead singer Randy Van Gelder had a vision for what Echo Strike could be. It needed to be made up of a diverse group of musicians both culturally and musically in order to create something new. In 2018, Randy Van Gelder partnered up with Beau Newlin (guitar) and Jonathan Broussard (production), two incredible musicians who saw the vision of Echo Strike and they began merging their collective styles and talents together. The first album, Honest Lies was mostly influenced by the 3 original members.

The members of band Echo Strike have released their latest album, titled Not Inside Your Mind.

The album explores the different facets of the band, from Brit rock to pop punk styles, all while tied together by the story-telling lyrics of lead vocalist and main songwriter Randy Van Gelder .

The album opens on a soaring high note with Catch Me, a duelling guitar funk track with traces of punk culture laced in throughout for good measure. Randy is at his most energetic and charismatic in the tracks memorable chorus. Randy is also front and center on Give it a try, casually sing-talking into the mic amid strummed and wavering guitar flourishes, occasional cymbals crash, and a measured beat.

Two of the most noticeable elements setting this album apart are its humor and strong musical virtues. The third song Like Candy shows off those qualities in an intensely likeable way. The song picks listeners up from the first and carries them away on a kinetic wave of energy, but that verve is well complemented by lyrics that are clearly bright, but never take themselves too seriously.

Just Fly switches gears a little bit and starts with a subtle, somehow-still-uplifting grand opening. With lyrics like “Lets take our time and live our life together, we could climb so high and shine on the world a new light. I think we could fly if we try..” At first pass, it can be somewhat easy to dismiss this track as “just another song”, but after a few repeat listens, you will begin to notice all of the subtle intricacies that come together to make the Just Fly what it is: a refreshing and uplifting song.

The band also does a superb job pushing the virtues of Let it Shine. Life offers you choices and sometimes your choice determines your outcome. Success is determined by just making the right choice to make your dream shine. Listening to Let it Shine for the third time made the message much more clearer. The song clearly encourages listeners to delve deep and connect to the faith and believe in the light which we all have.

You comes from a much different place than Let it Shine and the band’s skills branching out to an amazing guitar setting, complete with memorable piano playing, makes this standout on an album filled with stand out moments. It’s Alright will draw you in and make you believe again. Watch this space, because Echo Strike are going nowhere but up from here.

Bands work best when they form organically and are hungry to be heard. They have established unassailable chemistry in an astonishingly short amount of time. Revisionist testifies to that statement with its whiplash tight guitar rave ups and eye-popping precision. This isn’t sterilized alternative rock lacking swing however.

The long musical funk inspired intro on Dig in shares that relaxed confidence. In addition, the lyrical content deepens considerably over the otherwise fine words in the opener. “Don’t you wanna know if it’s gonna flow.. The sheets are changed, the beds arranged and now it’s time to play the game. Open the door walk a little more, you are getting a little bolder” lyrics from Dig in that make you stand in attention like a soldier. It’s a little surprising to hear such fully-formed, plain spoken eloquence in new rock music these days and it never feels heavy-handed despite the social relevance.

Unlike many bands of their ilk, Echo Strike isn’t afraid to shift focus away from experimenting with their music. All the way home has a brittle, urgent sound and bubbling bass that plays strong counterpoint against the guitar. The lyrics from this track reminds me of what a soldier will write back to his or her loved ones back home, counting the days till they could come back home. Many will be able to empathise with this track especially with the current lockdown which many felt like they were looking for the day they can truly come back to some kind of normality. Some might think the band oversimplifies things too much here when compared to the album’s other songs, but it’s just a different color and has tense, rock-like energy.

The Search reaches higher here without ever driving off a pretentious cliff and combines multiple strains of their approach with surprising new twists. It is a polar opposite from the previous track All the way home in terms of tempo. It seems like Randy lost something after midnight, i was trying to find it but i personally don’t know and i couldn’t let go of the feeling or should i say the million dollar question which is what is he trying to find? Well, if the past is history, the search is certainly a mystery. The harmony vocals are a consistent strength throughout The Search and particularly elevate the song.

Just when one suspects that there’s nothing new under the sun, Perception comes along and proves you’ve misunderstood things the entire time. We never need the wheel reinvented. Instead, Echo Strike comes along and pours old wine into new bottles with a rare blend of enthusiasm, skill, and personality. By, the time we reach the last track Go, we all felt the only natural step was to reach out to lead vocalist and main songwriter Randy Van Gelder for an interview to find out the story so far…

Much of this album is beautifully thought with a flow that precedes expectation on the second listen. There’s something intensely admirable about artists who mine such traditional veins of inspiration and present their work in such a fresh, memorable light. Not Inside your mind’s thirteen songs are full of individuality and faithfulness to tradition, but they are likewise forward looking and rarely content to lean on the expected.

What inspired you to get into music?
I began writing and composing music when I was very young, in the late 90’s, but life got in the way of my dreams for many years. I was successful in business and life but I kept the doors closed on my music until 2018 when I met a couple people (Beau own lead guitarist and Jonathan our produce) who listened to my music and determined that I was insane not to have published an an album!

How would you describe your music?
The only logical category would be Pop Rock but I promise, when you are finished listening to our new album, you will think that Echo Strike is really in our own genre of music. The reason is the diversity of our band and the diverse backgrounds of our musical taste. There is clearly an 80’s vibe combined with a futuristic electronic sound but beyond that we are influenced by jazz, rock, blues, hip-hop and a myriad of other sounds that can be found within each song. I think most listeners will have a difficult time putting us in one bucket.

What would you say is your recording and song writing style?
I know who I am. I know how to effectively use my voice to work in harmony with all the instruments and electronics happening around me. I know my limitations but I have a very interesting range. My writing style also ranges. Many songs are about a story of a moment in my life or someone’s life that I could see from the outside in. Other lyrics are powerful and important to get the message out. But in some cases, I try to play around with innuendo and have a lot of fun. I feel I am a very good storyteller and the listener will follow along with ease and interest.

Where would you like to see your music career in 5 years time?
Truly, it doesn’t matter where I am in five years in regards to my music. Echo Strike has two to four more albums of my music that are ready to begin getting back into the studio and perfecting. If we have 1 listener or 100 million, I know that I will stay grounded and continue to make more because I have many things to say to the world.

Original source: https://thenationalpost/echostrike

 Echo Strike’s Not Inside Your Mind Review By Beach Sloth

Echo Strike finds beauty in the imperfections on the infectious energy of “Not Inside Your Mind”. The stylistic diversity is a thing of pure wonder as they incorporate disco, dance rock, pop, R&B, and electro into a singular stream of consciousness. Color and texture appear to be of the utmost importance for the diverse array of instruments filter into the mix. From the subtle shifts of the bass line to the gorgeous guitar work, the whole of the album falls into place perfectly. Vocals alongside this further add to the festive atmospherics, with lyrics that positively pops. They craft an expansive, all-encompassing sound that feels alive.

They reference a wide variety of different groups within their rather expansive view. Within the dance rock category, they draw heavily from the neon-hued sugar rush of “Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer” era of Of Montreal. Akin to that album, this one offers some incredible storytelling alongside a playful disposition. On their more jam-centric works they incorporate elements of Death From Above Records’ roster with groups like the Juan Maclean and Holy Ghost! By allowing these to influence their sound they manage to create dense yet energetic works, the sort of things that work on a physical as well as intellectual level.

“Catch Me” opens up the album and sets the tone with spellbinding delivery and nimble guitar work. The electronic influences come to the forefront on the party atmosphere of “Give It a Try” with the wonderful keyboards being a particular joy. Drums merge perfectly with the acidic tinge of the synthesizers, making it one of the album highlights. Yearning and lust emerges on the delightfully sleazy “Like Candy”. On “Just Fly” they tap into a more reflective presence. Summery, bright and airy “Let It Shine” has a gorgeous buildup. Driving rhythms ground the determination of “You”.

Psychedelic flourishes give “It’s Alright” a classic rock spirit, making it rather stately at times. Swinging through with intense urgency “Revisionist” features dramatic flourishes that give it a theatrical flavor. Quite ornate “Dig In” effortlessly blends the electro and angular post punk guitar riffs into a satisfying blend, making it another highlight. Nods to Daft Punk’s robotic dance-rock fusions emerge throughout “All the Way Home”. Speeding tempos up considerably is the tension-filled “The Search”. Rollicking rhythms and soaring guitar lines give “Perception” a wild, carefree attitude. Going for a pure funk flavor is the taut tempo of the finale, the aptly named “Go”.

“Not Inside Your Mind” features infectious hooks, clever riffs, and bouncing beats in a fantastic funhouse of sound, proving Echo Strike to be true masters of thought-provoking pop.

Original source: https://entropymag.org/echo-strike-not-inside-your-mind/

United Kingdom reviewer Joe Creator gives his critique of Echo Strike’s Not Inside Your Mind

Not Inside Your Mind – Echo Strike (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

If you heard someone throwing around the term pop-rock you could be forgiven initially imagining some sort of middle of the road, fashion-driven dross that neither delivers the immediacy of the former nor the integrity of the later. But what if there was a way of taking the instant hook, the cool catch and inherent melody of a pop approach and weld it onto a more driving, urgent and robust, almost rock vehicle? Surely anyone who could do that would be carried through the streets on the shoulders of eager music fans, would be called saviours, the rainmakers for this current music drought, would be regarded as heroes and brave cross-genre gene splicers of the modern musical age. Wouldn’t they? Or if you are looking for a more modest title you could just call them Echo Strike.

With their first full tour abandoned because of the pandemic and finding himself stuck in Argentina, the main driving force and instigator of the band, Randy Van Gelder, started work on what would become this, the follow up album. And perhaps due to the strange and unexpected circumstances, the band quickly found themselves evolving in new and exciting ways and thus Not Inside Your Mind was borne.

Catch Me kicks things off nicely, laying out a mission statement for what is to follow by way of a jaunty, up-beat pop structure driven by some funky-soul guitar work and solid grooves. From there on they begin weaving both power and poise into something which, whilst isn’t exactly rock, borrows from the same authenticity and allure and if isn’t merely pop certainly employs the same addictiveness and infectious catches.

Just Fly wanders it’s own path, busy, tribal beats pushing things in a more cool indie meets underground-pop direction and It’s Alright is one of those minimalist anthems which you can imagine hearing at the end of a festival set as the sun goes down behind the stage and you wander off into a world which might never seem quite the same again.

Revisionist is a slower burning, darker and more brooding number, spacious and soul-searching and Perception is a soaring and searing pop gem, often understated, sometimes sky-scraping.

Rock has the chops to add substance to the often-vacuous nature of modern pop and in turn pop has the ability to sneak rock attributes through the snobbish barricades the genre often builds for itself and on to more fertile and lucrative pastures. No one knows this better than Echo Strike. No one puts this into practice better than Echo Strike.