'Echelons' is the debut album by Nebraska's FOR AGAINST, originally released in 1987 and now available for the first time on CD through the Minneapolis record label WORDS ON MUSIC.
'Echelons' 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.
'Echelons' marked FOR AGAINST's first association with the legendary Independent Project Records. Some songs ("Echelons," "Forget Who You Are," "Broke My Back") perfectly capture the dark colorings of Joy Division, while other material ("Shine," "Get On With It") asserts janglier elements [e.g. Dingmans' Peter-Buck-with-a-reverb-box melodies]. All nine songs, however, are distinctly identified by Runnings' clear, gliding timbre — a striking counterpoint to the dimly-lit music supporting him.
'Echelons' was also celebrated with a Grammy nomination for its remarkable cover design by Bruce Licher (a shaft of wheat accompanied each record sleeve in its initial pressing). This re-release is remastered with art design in a six-panel digipack by Licher.