Ancestors provides the listener with another world through their music. On their 2018 full length Suspended in Reflections — out now via Pelagic Records — they present songs that carefully unfold, but rather than proving repetitious, there’s more and more to each layer as they unfurl. There’s never a dull moment on the record; far above too specific stylistic aims or too thin plots, the band packs in music its truest form. They’ve rocketed outside the confines of the strictly modern music world and landed in their own, and they invite the listener to come join them.
They’ve accomplished as much in part through letting go. Some ideas that the band had for their direction going into the writing process for their 2018 LP “went out the window” as time went on, the band’s Justin Maranga explains. “Locking things in doesn’t usually work for us because things tend to change a lot as we write.”
There’s a purpose that remains through the “letting go,” though. The band is committed to following their artistic aims wherever they lead, which in the case of Suspended in Reflections, brings them to dynamic and engaging — and, in the end, huge but careful — rock music.
“I think it’s been a gradual evolution in that direction for us,” Maranga comments. “We were obviously drawn to the long-form songwriting style from the start, but the methodical unfolding of themes and melodies is something I’d like to think we’re still growing into and will hopefully continue to get better at! We find that type of songwriting to be a lot like storytelling, which is something that we find captivating as listeners, so it makes sense that we’d write that way.”
Their take has a measure more texture to it than the doom bands who zero in on melodic ideas and stick there, but they’re not off in incessant, in-your-face musical territory either. There’s an obvious sensitivity to the bigger picture, and the band includes a carefully charted depth in their music.
That texture puts them in a unique position when it comes to live performances. They’ve got a lot of energy and flat out force to bring to the stage, and Maranga is optimistic about the future of that aspect of the band.
“I’m looking forward to the future of Ancestors shows,” he says. “I have a renewed interest in playing live and I think that the new music presents a lot of options for an interesting and intense live experience. It sounds cliché, but the great ones are almost all marked in my mind by great crowds. When the energy in the air is almost palpable, you know it’s going to be a good show.”
The music they create is well suited to a live experience in the first place. It’s an all encompassing experience more than it’s an earworm.
There’s a complex pleasantness to the music, keeping them thematically from falling into rabbit holes just like the band stays out of them in their music itself. The record packs “all the emotions of a life in reflection,” Maranga quips, touching on just how deep this music goes.
The record implores to be returned to, time and time again, and via repeated listening, perhaps you can find something new. After all, on a surface level, everything from vocoder, piano and plenty of pipe organ to upright bass, violin, and plenty of assorted interesting keyed instruments make an appearance across the record, Maranga explains.
“The thinking is always ‘find the sound that suits the music / mood’ and hope that we have access to that sound!” he adds. “Organ has always been a big part of our music, but with the expansive sound of this record, we aimed pretty early on to try to gain access to a pipe organ, which we were lucky enough to get.”
On a different level, those practical aspects remain almost alive in how dynamic they are, continually morphing into something new via listening.
Maranga puts forward: “We’d like to think that the songs are cohesive and engaging enough to tie together all of the varied music ideas at play. We’re never trying to squeeze unnecessary shit into our music or do things just to do them. It’s always in service of the song.”
Check the band’s material out below via Spotify