Monday, June 20, 2011

Ancestors - Invisible White

Invisible White
Tee Pee Records/Impedance Records

It’s been a long time between releases for Los Angeles (U.S.) based psychedelic/progressive rock outfit Ancestors, with the sophomore release ‘Of Sound Mind’ now turning a little over two years old.
Part of the reason behind the slow progress on the recording front for the band was down to loss of keyboardist/vocalist Chico Foley, who decided to part ways with the band last year. With Foley gone, Ancestors (Comprising of vocalist/guitarist Justin Maranga, bassist/vocalist Nick Long, organist/vocalist Jason Watkins and drummer Brandon Pierce) took their time finding a suitable replacement, and after a lengthy search, finally settled upon Matt Barks.
With Ancestors back to a solidified line-up, writing was once again underway. But given the lapse of time between releases, the five piece act decided to put together a new E.P. rather than make fans wait for a new full-length album, which brings us to their latest effort ‘Invisible White’.
With any change of members, you can always account for some change in direction, and that’s very much the case with Ancestors latest release. The metallic and heavy elements of the band’s last release have given way for a far more laid back and gentle sound on ‘Invisible White’, and it’s clearly evident in the E.P.’s opening title track ‘Invisible White’. The use of keyboards is certainly far more apparent, with the guitars taking on more of a supporting role throughout the slower track. The vocals reflect the mood of the track, and seem to drift along in time to the free flowing and gradual build up of the song (The acoustic start eventually makes way for the keyboard dominated second half), while the use of violin (Provided by Amanda Salazar) provides a nice touch around the middle section.
The second track ‘Dust’ maintains the spacey/retro feel of the opener with its semi-acoustic and hypnotic harmonised vocalised first half, with some truly captivating and yet simple piano work towards its tail end, while the lengthy fourteen minute closer ‘Epilogue’ is a sprawling progressive rock work out of mid-’70’s vintage (I’m thinking Pink Floyd’s ‘Meddle’ in particular), complete with some shining work on the guitar riff front and some impressive keyboard work.
‘Invisible White’ is something quite unexpected from Ancestors given the sound presented on their first couple of albums, but in a good way. There’s a real sense of flow and magic within the three tracks on offer here, so much so that the E.P. seems to feel like it’s far shorter than its actual thirty minutes in length.
Ancestors have once again managed to impress with their latest effort, as well as surprise for that matter. If this is a sign of things to come, I can’t wait to hear what the band will come up with on their next full-length release.

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© Justin Donnelly