Dylan Donkin -- vocals/guitar
Brian Sagrafena -- drums
Adam Donkin -- bass
Andrew Gomez -– guitar/keyboards
Few new bands can claim among its biggest fans both the former bassist for Metallica and rock legend Neil Young. But then Echobrain is an unusual band, one nurtured by ex-Metallica bassist Jason Newsted and also one that has opened recent major concerts for Neil Young and Crazy Horse, and even appeared in Young's Greendale film.
Dylan Donkin (vocals and guitar) and Brian Sagrafena (drums) started jamming together back in junior high school, and released their self-titled debut album as Echobrain in 2002. Many expected the band, which then included Newsted, to lean towards the metal sound. Instead it was moody and introspective, edgy but ethereal, supporting a voice comparable to a genetic mutation of Chris Cornell, Lou Reed and Jeff Buckley. The San Jose Mercury News wrote, "Straight-ahead rock, deep and rich, with layers you want to hold up and examine and listen to over and over... like nothing else out there." Playboy lauded the record as well in a review that read, "The trio's album is an intricate, often gorgeous tapestry of melodic alt-rock. With a sound this fresh, it's hard to believe that Echobrain hasn't been around forever." Overseas, the press was just as strong, including this from NME, "Rather beautiful. Echobrain have the gift of pleasant surprise."
Not only has Newsted exited the lineup (though he is the album's executive producer), but also the vibe is heavier, deeper, and more powerful. From the dreamy "Jellyneck" to the adrenaline rocker "Out Of Reach," Glean redefines the possibilities of heavy. Recorded largely at Brian's home studio, some of the songs use elements of the original demos, lending the album a lo-fi quality without sacrificing depth of sound, vocals or lyrics.
Joining the group are Andrew Gomez (guitar, keyboards) and Dylan's brother, Adam (bass). In a way, Glean is both a debut album and a reunion album. It's a new formal line-up, but the four have always gotten together to jam out new material, influencing each other in the process. "They've been with us from the beginning, since we were kids," says Sagrafena. "We're like family." They've played on each other's records and at each other's shows. "We all know each other so well," says Dylan. "There's no bullshit. We can say and do anything with each other because we trust each other. When we sit down to play, we're right into it."
Look for big things from this low-key music-first band of footloose and focused musicians, and send your preconceptions packing. Echobrain defies categorization and challenges listeners with their hypnotic and melodic form of rock. It is a comfortably hazy and fully gratifying trip.