Considering my usual ambivalence when it comes to instrumental rock records, I wasn’t sure what to expect from A Troop of Echoes and their latest full-length “The Longest Year on Record.” I tend to grow bored quickly with these types of platters, but reading a little bit about the band had me cautiously optimistic about what I was about to hear.
A Troop of Echoes are comprised of Peter Gilli on saxophone, Nick Cooper on guitar, Harrison Hartley and bass and Dan Moriarty on drums. And while all the principals are accomplished musicians and add something to the mix, what sets “The Longest Year on Record” apart is Gilli’s sax work. It gives the rock tunes a decidedly jazzy flavor and makes for a consistently enjoyable liste.
Things get off to a somewhat sluggish start with middling opener “Manifest and Legion,” but A Troop of Echoes soon hit their stride with keepers “Small Fires,” “Arecibo,” personal favorite “Constellation,” the title track and “Pure Alexia (Is It Silent in This Room).” Even if you normally don’t dig instrumental music, this might be a record that tickles your fancy. (Jeffrey Sisk)