Review by Michael Lisl
Schenectady Daily Gazette — May 30, 1999
‘Echo’ | Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | Warner Brothers Records 9472940-2
“Echo,” the newest effort from Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, probably won’t grab Petty too many new ears or younger listeners.
After all, “Echo” is full of guitar-driven folk-pop songs, some embellished with harmonica; music that some listeners would dismiss as outdated in the alternative rock-infused, hip-hop-dominated musical landscape of the late 1990s.
But that’s part of the beauty of this album. “Echo” finds Petty and company doing what they do best, what they’ve done best for more than 20 years — and with no apologies, thank you very much.
Petty refuses to water down his seamless, edgy pop songs with the musical flavor of the day, preferring instead to play honest music with the vitality and conviction that many indie rock bands would be downright jealous of.
Songs like “Won’t Last Long” and “Accused Of Love” are energetic and confident compositions, pure pop songs that smack of Petty’s defiance and ring with guitarist Mike Campbell’s trademark touch.
“New Girl Now,” the record’s first single, is a meaty rocker that could have easily fit on Petty’s 1979 classic album “Damn the Torpedoes;” it’s perfect for pounding the rhythm out to on the car roof while driving on a sunny summer day.
Petty’s weathered voice sounds fantastic from start to finish, sheer perfection on rockers like “I Don’t Wanna Fight,” “About To Give Out,” “Swingin'” and the moody “Room At The Top.”
Petty’s slower, country-washed songs, like “This One’s For Me,” “Lonesome Sundown” and “Rhino Skin” are for the more experienced Petty fan; be prepared to give them a few listens.
For fans of Petty and the Heartbreakers, “Echo” is a must-have record; its everything you’ve been waiting for and more.