Voyager is a five track EP released by the Nova Echo back in 2010 for free through their website. It was their second, and final release before their hiatus in early 2012, and in some ways is a departure from the heavily "Angels and Airwaves" influenced sound of their 2009 eponymous release.
Voyager opens with "Harps", a faster paced track, and a wise choice for that opener spot. It begins with a synth line not unfamiliar to the band; one riddled with effects to capture that "spacey" sound the band had relied upon heavily for their first release. But as the rest of the band enters, it becomes apparent that the focus of the song isn't so much with the electronics, but with the rest of the band, giving the track more of a rock edge. This is a welcome change for the band, and proves to be a good choice as the song speeds along.
Sadly, it wasn't one that continues into the three tracks that follow. The next three tracks, "Vesper", "Titan", and "Voyager", see the band taking a backseat to Caleb and his electronics. These three follow the same formula that a bulk of their self titled album did; starting off quietly with a synth line, Caleb's voice enters, and a build up to a loud chorus. The attempt is similar to what Delonge does with Angels and Airwaves in an attempt to make the choruses seem "huge" and have an arena vibe to them, and it may have worked here had it been used sparingly. Instead, all three of these songs follow the same formula, causing them to blend together.
The final track, "Ragnarok", is an attempt to blend the style of the previous three tracks with that of the opener "Harps". It opens with a quiet synth line and Hanks quietly singing over top it, before exploding into a fast, catchy chorus. And while this is what they had done with the three tracks that preceded it, the track continues at this faster tempo, never losing the energy it had built up. This leads to the song being rather enjoyable, and being a standout of the EP.
Lyrically, all of these songs can be placed into one of two groups.
You have the love songs, "Titan" and "Vesper", which are pretty straightforward. These tracks, though still having the space and sci-fi themes of the past album, use them sparingly.
You then also have the songs that read like an IMDB plot synopsis for a made-for-tv SyFy movie; "Harps", "Ragnarok", and "Voyager". These songs feature lines such as "Drop the bomb engage the EMP/We've got to rid the world of this catastrophe", "Time divides for you, it peels back/Layers of solid light like oceans", and "I feel something in the cyber-kinetic lifeline of dreams and wishes that don't come true". While two of the songs these lyrics are on are good songs themselves, the lyrics are just downright cheesy, and contain way too much of this space/sci-fi imagery to come across as anything but cheesy and overused.
Musically, however, Hanks has a good voice, one that fits the music really well. And the band behind him, when given the chance, really shine through and are able to create some memorable moments.
Overall, it's an alright release from a short lived band who had much potential. While it has its stronger songs that are among the best in the band's catalog, the release was bogged down by the formulaic and rather boring middle tracks. For those interested, just download the EP and keep the standout tracks.