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.
Where can music fans listen your music?
Spotify, Deezer, Apple Music and any other platform out there.