Echobrain Echobrain

Ever wonder what would happen if you put an established rock star in a studio with a couple of talented yet inexperienced kids? Former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted invited his young neighbours Dylan Donkin (vocals and guitar) and Brian Sagrafena (drums) to jam. The group developed into Echobrain and their self-titled debut is so much more than I expected. Donkin's voice is versatile and Newsted's playing is much more intricate than you'd ever hear on a record by his former band. The Ben Folds Five-ish bonus track actually makes a real instrument of a kazoo (who knew it could sound cool?), but it is tracks like "Colder World" and "Cryin' Shame" that show the trio's natural writing ability and knack for instrumental subtleties. The former has some killer slide guitar that punches up the chorus, and along with "Highway 44," with its basic blues progression and Donkin's deep vocal purr, are to die for. Newsted bravely steps into uncharted territory on this one, likely solidifying his career and expanding not only his abilities but also the respect of his fan base. (Surfdog)