Chandeen's delicately dark way around music continues well on the lovely Echoes, as good an album to put on when in a mysterious and just gothic enough mood. Though what's great about the band is how it's not all sturm und drang, as the short opening song "Indian Summer" (which could almost be a stripped down Enya tune, in ways) demonstrates. By keeping everything so carefully and sweetly focused -- the title track is a fine example: piano, vocals, and the barest hint of strings setting a truly ethereal and entrancing mood -- the various hints of Arabic, classical Western and other musics never become overbearing or distract from the core songs. As a result, even though a song like "In the Forest" may have hints of Dead Can Dance or Cranes with its low, steady drumming, it doesn't suggest a pagan ceremony so much as hint at one. One of the ways that the band keeps things varied is their sense of multi-part dynamics within a song while not coming across as some sort of arch-prog bores. "A Dream Within a Dream" has just enough of a stop-start sense of shifting sections and melodies without dramatically calling attention to itself. Credit as well for the creative use of classic poets -- Edgar Allen Poe, William Blake and, twice, Oscar Wilde -- without sounding like an arch, hushed reading a la early Moody Blues. If anything Antje Schulz's singing gives the words a new life by transferring the spoken rhythms to musical ones, while still sounding perfectly appropriate for her band's work. Wilde's "Impressions -- La Fruite de la Lune" gets the best treatment of all, with Schulz's singing and Harald Lowy's exquisite arrangements making for a truly mystic result.
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