There are psych and garage bands out there peddling their wares and trying so hard to sound like a psych band that they overwhelming produce psych music to the extent that you want to tell them to tone it down. And there are bands who are so overwhelmingly stuck in their garage band methods that you can smell the mustiness illuminating from their melodies. These bands are like the chocolate cake they bring out that layers chocolate on chocolate on chocolate on chocolate and is four times too big and rich for anyone alone to eat.
Ancient River is more like a crème brûlée of the psych and garage scene. There is a calm and dazed effect this band presents that it’s comforting and hypnotic in their ways. Their sound is airy and discreet expression that you almost forget that they lump themselves in both scenes. There were several times through listens where I had to stop and think, “Are there vocals on this album?” “Are the guitars weaving in a third eye consciousness to their mantra?” “Is this album even dirty in the context that vintage equipment give garage rockers that rawness?” The answer is yes yes, and you might consider Ancient River’s Keeper of the Dawn more dusty than dirty. You see, they blend everything together so well, you begin to loose track (the true essence of psych rock is to lose yourself in the moment of the music, right?) of reality and the momentum of the album becomes one with the album itself.
The title track burns the candle down with a mysticism that feels like you just consumed some good drugs and you are looking forward to the escape. Delicate protrudes in every thought pattern as they tread lightly, making every extroverted sound that much more poignant.
“Mother of Light” is like having an out of body experience but you are a mesa in the American Southwest watching the clouds pass you by. The way this band can drift is impressive. It’s a song that conjures up more volume as the song transcends.
I am sure this band has the power to turn up the knobs and really crank out a good freak out. But for Keeper of the Dawn, sit down, turn down the lights and wait for the moments when you become one with the consciousness of this album.