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#49 Echo Screen: An American Tale

By Gary Wien

Echo Screen’s debut An American Tale begins with “The Things We’ve Left Behind,” a brief instrumental that sets a rather somber setting.  It sort of reminds me of the cartoon character Schroeder from Peanuts tapping away at his little piano while watching bombs fall during World War III.  The song then ends with a loud bang and bursts into “An American Tale,” a blistering pop punk tune that leads into a collection of songs that appear to have been somewhat inspired by 9/11 and its aftermath.

The band’s tales of escape are very different than the traditional dreams that teenagers have as they are growing older.  Here, the characters long for escape as a means of security; perhaps, naively believing that the country’s enemies will only focus on the East Coast.  Two of the best songs on An American Tale follow this premise: “Rushmore” and “Autumn In Disguise.”  Whether intentional or not, 9/11 lingers in the background.

Just let me drive away

Instead of chasing hollow dreams

And acquiescing to this mess

Inside my head

Trips home and heart attacks

Don’t bring me down or keep me sane

And running doesn’t do a thing

But numb my face

We can’t go back (we can’t go back)

To how things were (to how things were)

But if I find a highway long enough

I swear I’m gone

I’m moving out to South Dakota, yeah

I’m moving out to South Dakota

  -- “Rushmore”

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Highlights include “An American Tale,” “Rushmore,” “I’ll Have You Sleeping With The Fishes,” and “Autumn In Disguise.”

From the book Are You Listening? The Top 100 Albums of 2001-2010 by New Jersey Artists by Gary Wien

Gary Wien has been covering the arts since 2001 and has had work published with Jersey Arts, Elmore Magazine, Princeton Magazine, Backstreets and other publications. He is a three-time winner of the Asbury Music Award for Top Music Journalist and the author of Beyond the Palace (the first book on the history of rock and roll in Asbury Park) and Are You Listening? The Top 100 Albums of 2001-2010 by New Jersey Artists. In addition, he runs New Jersey Stage and the online radio station The Penguin Rocks. He can be contacted at gary@newjerseystage.com.

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originally published: 01/28/2011

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