Say what you will; the internet is a pretty cool thing. It’s arguably an innovation of significance on par with that of the printing press or radio, and without it, I would likely have never seen so many ‘cute kitten’ videos. Presumably, the internet also plays a great role in the music of Disconnect, an American two-man duo living states apart from each other. A musical collision of longtime collaborators Brian Eschrich and Erich O’Dell, Disconnect is an act that has received quite a bit of attention within the progressive community, in spite of releasing their music independently. I first heard about this band back in 2010 or 2011 with their album “Indivision”, an album I found myself instantly enjoying. Being a big fan of the immortal Rush, Disconnect’s distinct “Hemispheres”-era influence was a real joy to behold. “Enough Blame To Go Around” is Disconnect’s fourth offering to the world of prog, and while they are still drawing from a similar palette of sounds and influences, the ambition has been kicked up a notch. Disconnect may not be as instantly enjoyable as they were on “Indivision”, but the lasting quality makes it entirely worth checking out.
“Enough Blame To Go Around” is a tightly performed and put-together album, but it rarely feels like a professionally orchestrated work. As far as the production is concerned, the music could have been helped with a little added polish, but the ‘homegrown’ sound Disconnect sports gives it a feeling of instant warmth that I rarely hear in a lot of mechanical prog these days. These things considered, the complexity and scope of Disconnect’s songwriting is rather remarkable this time around. Although the music is highly melodic and vocal-driven, Disconnect have amped up the ‘proggy’ aspect of their identity. A quick look at the back of the CD jewel case proves my point; two of the songs rest between the seventeen and nineteen minute marks, and the runt of the litter (“Inside Job”) is a hefty eight-and-a-half minutes. This should also go to prove another of my points; despite the wealth of relatively accessible moments throughout “Enough Blame To Go Around”, Disconnect have crafted an album that demands several listens before it starts making total sense. As ‘epics’ go, these pieces don’t have the sort of classic structure to them, and can feel sometimes like a string of interesting ideas tied together in a way that is only half- complimentary.
Were I judging Disconnect’s songwriting based on its structure alone, I may have been disappointed, likely negatively comparing it to the crisp ‘album-long epic’ flow on “Indivision”. While I wouldn’t say that Disconnect have quite nailed the ebb-and-flow of a progressive rock epic, there are a great deal of great passages within that are totally worth the patchy structures. Parts of “Twisting the Knife” are impossible not to be reminded of Rush’s “The Camera Eye”, and its swirling guitar climax closes off the album brilliantly. It is also impossible not to be moved in some way by the opening moments of “Falling Man”, a brilliantly arranged Middle-Eastern music sample played underneath a collage of news reports of the 9/11 attacks. In truth, every track offers a fair share of wonderful moments, although I cannot help but wish that they were a little more organized.
Although the ‘disconnected’ nature of Disconnect’s recording might lead to assumptions that their performance here is amateurish, O’Dell and Eschrich have a great musical chemistry. In particular, Eschrich’s drumming is consistently impressive, offering a tightness that the rest of the sound is built around. Erich O’Dell’s voice is a major part of the music, and though his vocals may not have a powerful resonance to them, he’s capable of conveying a good warmth and feeling. O’Dell’s big talent is with the electric guitar. Falling somewhere between the thoughtful rhythms of Alex Lifeson and the soulful lead style of David Gilmour, O’Dell brings many different tones to the table throughout the hour-plus of music on “Enough Blame To Go Around”. As mentioned by other reviewers, the musical pieces do not always fit, but Disconnect’s musical successes are passionate and powerful.
Although Disconnect’s melodic style seems better fitted for a more concise song format, I give them every bit of encouragement to go ‘big’ with their sound. With that being said, I feel like “Enough Blame To Go Around” could have been even better, given a little more focus and structure. Although their recording standard is distinguishable from a ‘professional’ calibre, Disconnect have put together a tasteful, albeit inconsistent record with this one.
1. Adventures In Taxidermy (12:01)
2. Inside Job (8:37)
3. Falling Man (17:33)
4. Sufficient (9:15)
5. Twisting The Knife (18:43)
- Erich O’Dell / guitars, bass, keyboards, voices
- Brian Eschrich / drums, percussion, synth