Amplifier: Echo Street

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After the intensity of Amplifier’s previous album The Octopus, this may not be what you’re expecting. It plays, initially, like a chillout/comedown record, but gradually reveals itself as a work of great subtlety, the new four-piece line-up boldly expanding its horizons.

The anticipated Amp-epics come early, like opening tracks Matmos (Sel Balamir’s guitar building slowly from a whisper to a roar), The Wheel (bass-heavy hypnotherapy with gonzoid moments) and the album’s masterpiece, the 12-minute Extra Vehicular – über-drummer Matt Brobin’s sticks hitting every star in sight while Sel imagines the awe and terror of leaving a space capsule to view the wonders of the cosmos.

But in the second half of the album, there are some unexpected twists. Despite a crescendo that’s like getting sideswiped by a truck while picking daisies, Where The River Goes is, er, cute. Alongside a Roger Waters-like air of menace, Paris In The Spring sounds a bit Beach Boys in parts. Between Today And Yesterday is acoustic and evokes Crosby Stills & Nash. And the title track is effectively an instrumental that’s almost psychedelic.

Finally, Mary Rose… growing from Ummagumma-era Floyd stylings to become a jolly little tale of a doomed flagship, it’s the album in a nutshell: fabulous, fun and irresistible. From here, Amplifier could go anywhere.

Neil Jeffries

Freelance contributor to Classic Rock and several of its offshoots since 2006. In the 1980s he began a 15-year spell working for Kerrang! intially as a cub reviewer and later as Geoff Barton’s deputy and then pouring precious metal into test tubes as editor of its Special Projects division. Has spent quality time with Robert Plant, Keith Richards, Ritchie Blackmore, Rory Gallagher and Gary Moore – and also spent time in a maximum security prison alongside Love/Hate. Loves Rush, Aerosmith and beer. Will work for food.