EP REVIEW: Escher's Enigma - Piece of Mind (EP) :
by: Cyrus Rhodes
Rock, Alternative Rock, Blues, Fusion, Funk
Winded Songs, Dated Sound, Mix lacks dynamics, Cover art concept, EP release
'Piece of Mind," the new EP from Escher's Enigma, is a departure from their critically acclaimed acoustic pop/rock EP "From Me To There." The new EP contains 5 original songs that bring back the glory days of arena rock, while presenting this genre with a clean, modern production. This high-energy CD is perfect for a nice drive down the highway or for rocking out at the end of a long day.Escher's Enigma consists of Brian Miller and Russ Miller, who have a combined 40+ years of performing and recording rock and pop music in a wide variety of settings. Russ Miller has been playing the bass and recording professionally since the 1970s, while his son Brian has been playing guitar and piano, as well as singing, professionally since 2005. This latest 5 track EP was released in 2014.
The CD gently takes flight with psychedelic “Here for the Last Time” a rocking lullaby that gradually builds into a passionate rock ballad complete with hooky guitar chops and playing meshed against catchy vocal melody and flair from the Miller. This intro track sets the tone rather well for this EP, with its feel good groove and clever lyrical content. Track 2 “The Write Words” dishes out yet another impressive track with its steady flowing rock rhythm, and heartfelt vocal melody from and infectious Rock n’ Roll persona. Track 3 “Keep Reaching” serves up yet another interesting track with hypnotic lyrical content, musical movement and strong melody that sticks with you long after the song 9is over. As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear many musical influences reminiscent of classic Van Halen, Ratt, Night Ranger and even a dash of material by Todd Rundgren. I can even hear rock influences from REO Speedwagon to Faith No More. That’s a pretty wide range of styles and I get the impression the Miller’s dabble sin many styles of music. I would classify this music as rock, with a slight aftertaste of alternative blues, jazz, fusion and an ounce of singer/songwriter. The songs themselves are addictive, and interesting, complete with passionate and interesting subject matter. The musicianship of this band is pretty solid across the board. Miller is a very capable singer, soloist, guitarist and songwriter. The players themselves write and play there parts extremely well. Besides the 4 piece standard you will also notice things like impressive solo guitar, well placed drums, keyboards, Piano and lush harmonies layered along the way. Equally as impressive is the vocal presence of Miller as he takes many vocal risks throughout the CD indicating to me a strong, confident and infectious vocal ability. His voice sounds in the vein of Les Claypool. All engineering aspects check out. CD Possesses crystal clear high end clarity and thick low end frequency. All songs are short and sweet musical experiences, never too winded, never to short. From rocking “Safety Net” to melodic “Backstreet Boy” this CD has something for just about everyone.
All songs over 3.5 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. Track 3 fades out sounds forced to me. EP sounds a bit dated – some of this applies to the guitar tonality (very 1983). At the end of the day this EP is reminiscent of music popular 20 to 30+ years go. The overall mix lacks modern day dynamics. Escher’s Enigma need to modernize their sound, guitar tone, solo guitar style, mix, songwriting format a bit to be a bit mor4e mainstream and marketable. I typically deduct 1 star for EP releases. The full length releases is the most complete and accurate statement to judge an artists by at any given point in time. It’s fair to say the CD Cover looks a bit amateurish and lacks a concept computable with the EP title
In close “Piece of Mind” by Escher’s Enigma is a consistent and compelling musical production from start to finish. It’s strong suit – its amazing artistic presence we get from a father and son. These two are musical masterminds with more than enough zaniness, creativity and eccentricity to go around. The songs are extremely melodic, grooving, and somewhat eccentric – but above all infectious. The songs are short and sweet musical experiences, each one possessing a unique personality, flair, and signature groove. Last but not least Brian and Russ Miller are both extremely capable artists with a lot of potential as this Summer unwinds..