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FOR AGAINST • Echelons
[CD released August 2004]

Available for the first time on CD! Echelons is the debut album by Nebraska's For Against, first released in 1987. The album blends Factory Records atmospherics with the aggressive jangle of early R.E.M., juxtaposed against the earnest and isolated voice of Jeffrey Runnings. These elements conjoin to set the definitive image of the depth, vastness, and loneliness of America's sparse heartland.

Several songs on Echelons ("Echelons," "Forget Who You Are," "Broke My Back") perfectly capture the dark colorings of early Factory Records. The title track is replete with jagged, rusty guitar chords, painting gray and black trails onto which Runnings travels while reiterating the cautiously optimistic refrain, "Someone somewhere waits for me." The finale "Broke My Back" is a 7-minute anthem with shadowy chords and Runnings' boldly minimalist bassline — creating an atmosphere so bleak and compelling you can almost picture Martin Hannett behind the mixing console.

"Autocrat" weaves guitarist Harry Dingman's Gang of Four-inspired choppy, but ingeniously precise feedback and chord stabs through drummer Greg Hill and bassist Runnings' punchy, but solid rhythm section. Runnings wryly captures the song's essence with a repetitive one-line vocal melody: "Yeah, that's right, that's the way it is."

Other material ("Shine," "Get On With It") asserts the janglier elements of early 80s Athens rock, led by Dingmans' Peter-Buck-with-a-reverb-box melodies and Hill's lightning-quick drum patterns. All nine songs are distinctly identified by Runnings' clear, gliding timbre — a striking counterpoint to the dimly lit music supporting him.

One of the definitive American post-punk albums, Echelons was celebrated with a Grammy nomination for its remarkable cover design by Bruce Licher (a shaft of wheat accompanied each record sleeve in its initial 1,000 copy letter press run). This re-release is remastered with a six-panel digipak design by Licher.


Reviews
Echelons was in its own fashion one of the most important releases of its time. A spectacular listen.
-- All Music Guide

This rerelease of a distinctly American classic from the world of post-punk inspired indie-rock is sure to please. Echelons is a must have.
-- Jennifer Jones, Losing Today

I can't remember a time when I turned a review in late because I was too busy listening to the record to actually gather enough of my thoughts to communicate the thrill. Echelons is a lost classic finally recovered...and now I want more.
-- Splendid

The perfect marriage between Joy Division, Comsat Angels, Cocteau Twins, Cure, The Sound and especially Porcupine Echo & The Bunnymen. What a joy rediscovering this original wonder work!
-- Jack Rabid, The Big Takeover

All through Echelons, the echoed sound of guitarist Harry Dingman arouses a berserk fireworks show careening like a thousand power drills. Pin it to the non-stop rhythm section and Runnings' boyishly sweet catchy pop voice, and For Against are a waterfall of sound. When the tempo slows down, they draw you in like a hypnotist.
-- Trouser Press

The debut album by Lincoln Nebraska's For Against is a stimulating affair. Close listens reveal passages of gleaming brilliance and instrumental clarity that may traverse a galaxy or dimension but still sets the controls directly for the heart of the soul. For Against takes aim at the oft-missed widescreen, panoramic spectrum of sound. They hit it too, thanks to their intuitive sense of warm, accessible melodies.
-- Fred Mills, Option

The songs and musicianship here are so vibrant and powerful that this music is as relevant and moving for listeners today as it no doubt was to people who discovered it when it was released...However you define the album stylistically, what's clear above all else is that For Against's open-hearted, independent-minded approach to rock music was unique then and it's still unique now.
-- Erasing Clouds




Echelons

Tracks
1. shine (4.05)
2. daylight (4.32)
3. get on with it (3.41)
4. echelons (4.02) [video]
5. it's a lie (3.25)
6. autocrat (3.49) [video]
7. forget who you are (3.30)
8. loud and clear (4.32)
9. broke my back (7.33)





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