Crank this to 10 of 11 - Editor's Pick
Genre: Heavy Psych Rock
Sounds Like: Mondo Drag, Ethereal Riffian, Window Pane
Lead singer Brian Markham could have one of the most hypnotic voices we have heard in a long time. The desperation and passion in his voice elevate Mosaic to one of the strongest albums to come our way in a long time. The tone of Markham's voice accompanied by brilliant echo penetrates your psyche and makes this an album that will stick with you.
The Brooklyn based band includes five members from various gigs such as Ghastly City Sleep, You Are the Drum and Majority Rule.On their fourth release Mosaic, second off of Wharf Cat Records, Ancient Sky perfects a sound fueled by very dark themes. We are fascinated by the evolution of this band over nearly ten years as we witness them truly hit their stride.
1. Sing Swing - 5:14
2. Two Lights - 4:53
3. Garbage Brain - 4:44
4. Know - 4:13
5. Induction - 6:12
6. Protection - 4:45
7. Ancient Tape - 6:23
8. Poverty - 6:27 (bonus track)
The opener "Sing Swing" sets the ominous mood introducing vocals within the first few seconds. Ancient Sky deviates in a very positive way from the conventional long jams leading into distant vocals and uses a very direct approach. "Sing Swing" is a story of loss and despair and this track sets the backdrop beautifully. Eerie, off-key keyboards and guitar-work make for a very disturbing ending. The track melds drone and majestic visions and does not waste time with their ability to get your arm to involuntarily point to the sky.
"Two Lights" kicks off with some Swervedriver influences as swirling guitars and multiple layers support the dramatic melodies that ensue. Markham has a gift for contrast. He flips a switch getting out of melodic story mode and into screams of sheer anguish. We found this style to evokes our curiosity to listen more closely to the lyrics at hand.
"Garbage Brain" is a powerful track featuring one of the saddest melodies we have heard in a long time. You can feel the sadness fill the room as the pensive theme of loss is underscored by a heavy whirlwind of fine guitar-work. This track hits us the hardest.
"Know" introduces some stoner riffs and introductory echo that will rival Janes Addiction and Window Pane (a very obscure Long Island band). Markham is masterful on this track. Pervasive guitar resonate along side some of the best vocal moments on the album. The grinding rhythms make this one of the heavier tracks off the album.
Ancient Sky does a wonderful job providing variety onMosaicwhile bringing everything back to the dark central theme. By way of example, "Induction" slips into a unique percussion laden intro, but maintains the anguish throughout via early cries of pain from Markham. The complexity on this track is down right inspiring. We still gleam new sounds and quirks not picked up previously after many listens. Absolutely love the tempo change at about the 4 minute mark.
"Protection" delivers a very laid back feel as the vocals are much more subtle and distant. This track takes more of a wandering instrumental approach as the vocals provide a soft backdrop. The closer, "Ancient Tape," begins with some very disturbing feedback and pulls in more of the percussion intros we saw on "Induction". The synths and wind instrument dominate the intro and provide for a very uneasy feel. This could be one of the darkest (in a good way) moments on the album. The song bleeds into heavier guitar work and the last two minutes are jaw dropping. And last but not least, download the bonus track “Poverty” that comes with the album on their Bandcamp site only. This 6:27 minute trip will whisk you away with its haunting psychedelics and dense percussion.
Mosaic is full of sorrow and beauty and will make a lasting imprint on the memories you form during its time in your rotation. Their name fits perfectly with their massive and expansive sound. Ancient Sky has hit new heights and are deep in the ominous clouds. We are absolutely fired up to see these guys live. The simplicity in the production and brilliance of Markham's pipes should make for a spectacular live show. Fans of all music genres should pick this album up for their collection. While it may not be the go to album to lift your spirits, it may be one of the most impactful. We also look forward to catching other projects by the band as well... Dommengang and Holy Sons, which are being released through Thrill Jockey Records.
Standout Tracks: Garbage Brain, Sing Swing, Know, Induction
Follow Acient Sky: Bandcamp