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A Troop of Echoes

A Troop of Echoes

Any band with a characteristic outside the regular guitars-bass-drum configuration will inevitably be

tagged as “that group with the something,†e.g., laptop, synthesizer, whatever. Thus, it is the case that Providence, RI band A Troop of Echoes is “that band with the saxophone.” But when did the saxophone become something exotic or distinctive in a rock context? Says drummer Dan Moriarty, “It’s not surprising that most people consider it strictly a jazz instrument, but there’s actually a huge range of sounds that it is capable of producing: buzzy, distorted, harsh, dissonant, percussive, wonderful sounds…  We’ve never been out to prove anything specifically about the saxophone; we’re just trying to write fun, compelling, creative and exciting music. The inclusion of unusual sounds feels very natural to us.â€

The band’s 2010 album, Days in Automation, showcases the group as deliberately tuneful, though, with nary a trace of bleaty skronk. Instead, the nine tracks drive and throb through intensely noir passages. It’s music to pull one’s collar closer to, to brace against the cold with. The band found itself in company, seemingly naturally enough, with “the noise-rock/dance-rock scene in Providence†but lately, booked mostly with “bands you could call math-rock or post-rock,” says Moriarty. “That’s how a lot of people have classified our music, although we think of it as pop music with a wide sonic palette.”

Being an all-instrumental group has its own rewards and challenges. Moriarty explains, “In a way, it forces our songwriting in a certain direction… the emotional content of our music has to come from the notes we play and the way we play them. It can be tricky to get everything perfectly right, but when it works, the payoff is huge!â€