Slipknot drummer Joey did it, but not for long. Boyd Rice does it all the time. Malcolm McLaren's done it to everyone else and everyone else asked Ozzy Ozbourne to do it to them. What am I talking about? Musical side projects of course.
Now it's the turn of Metallica's bass maestro Jason Newstead to try his hand at it. Now, whether Jason's new project comes to anything or not is not necessarily important. What is important here, for the metal fans at least, is that Jason had a recent falling out with James Hetfield about not being free to pursue other projects. James allegedly vetoed the idea that any of the Metallica members should do so. Not long after, Jason pops up with this offering and to add insult to injury, fellow Metallica member Kirk Hammet guests on one of the tracks. Curioser and curioser.
EchoBrain are not quite what one would expect. Made up of Jason and two younger friends in the shape of vocalist Dylan Donkin (who sounds not a million miles away from a young Paul D'ianno) and funk jazz drummer Brian Sagrafena, this is about as far from metallic roots as you'll get though staying in the confines of what you would call rock. A definition of 'feelgood road music' would probably sum it up.
There's Lynard Skynard, the Beatles and possibly even a hint of Radiohead in there (think of a white Lenny Kravitz project); this is certainly an album for music lovers. It would be hard to fault any of the talents that are laid bare on this album, from the songwriting all the way up to the production.
However, the big question remains, is there anything new about all this? Personally speaking, I don't think so, but then again there was nothing remotely new about recent pop-rock acts such as Stereophonics or Travis either; yet they still sell by the million. All in all, if you appreciate good music and the talents that go with it, you'll love this. If you just want something to dance along to, you may be better looking elsewhere.
Post: WorkHard Public Relations, 19d Pinfold Road, London, SW16 2SL