Ancient River

Keeper of the Dawn

Written by: BV on 10/08/2015 12:55:56

In this day and age where any band with more than one reverb pedal and a love for droning call themselves a psychedelic band, it is becoming increasingly difficult for fans of the genre to actually navigate these densely filled musical waters. Ancient River try their best to distinguish themselves from the herd with “Keeper of the Dawn”, but occasionally fail to rise the challenge.

It is hard indeed, when opening track “This is the Time” sounds eerily similar to something Tame Impala could have concocted before their sound exploded in a wash of reverberating synthesizers. To be entirely fair, that resemblance does them absolutely no favors even though “This is the Time” is actually a fairly riveting track in itself. One thing I’d say actually works in Ancient River’s favor is the sparse lyrics. They can craft pleasant melodies galore and it is those melodies that enable the perpetual noodling on the guitars which makes the whole thing so endearing, in spite of it being yet another band to emerge on a crowded scene with a slightly unoriginal approach.

Just to be clear, there’s not much entirely original stuff going on in psychedelic music as of 2015 – but there are those who manage to combine their love of the psychedelic heritage with a highly unusual approach; thus setting themselves apart from the herd. What Ancient River are doing can hardly be called unique, but it is highly enjoyable nonetheless. Take “Mother of Light” as a shining example of doing something unoriginal, yet making it a hypnotic and almost ritualistic experience. The droning groove and the wash of reverb dripping from the soundscape reminds me intensely of recent Sleepy Sun albums as well as the sounds of Dead Meadow and The Warlocks – which is definitely not a bad crowd to be compared with.

In spite of the often few components used to create the sounds on “Keeper of the Dawn”, it is also this simplicity that lures me in and makes the whole experience so engaging while the album rolls out slowly. The highly hypnotic drum-beats lure the listener in, whilst the cascading sounds of reverb guitars create the ambience that is such an integral part of immersive, psychedelic music. When the vocals appear (which they often don’t) they are coated in thick layers of echoes and reverb as to only supplement the soundscape – signifying that the message is almost entirely irrelevant and that it is the voice as an instrument that is of the essence once it has been introduced. “Stay With Me” has slowly grown to be my favorite track on the album, in part because it reminds me of The Holydrug Couple – not as a straight up reproduction, but more like they’re kindred sonic spirits, in a way. It’s the dreamy ambience in particular, and the rather concise guitar melodies driven by the engaging drumming that creates the similarities and, as opposed to the Tame Impala resemblance on the opening track, this resemblance is not only welcome – it is also very favorable. In essence, “Keeper of the Dawn” adds nothing new to the scene in particular, but they are well worth a listen if you find yourself tired of the more established acts of the psychedelic scene.


Download: Mother of Light, Stay With Me, Journey into the Light of Darkness
For the fans of: The Holydrug Couple, Dead Meadow, The Telstar Sound Drone
Listen: Facebook

Release date 14.04.2015
Summer Moon

Related Items | How we score?
comments powered by Disqus


© Copyright MMXXI