The last three years have been especially busy for The Late Ancients. Singer and lead guitarist, Pete Beck, has spent his time and spent it well, crafting songs that send the listener to a different time and place. Songs From the Wigwam sounds as if you took a step back 30 years, but there was new polish and more concentrated exploration. At the heart, it's a strange cornucopia of intellectualism and drugs made to order with wonderful yet reserved production. The snare drum hits with a sweet thickness while the organ work is nothing less than superb. Brittany Staub’s clear voice resonates effortlessly in harmonic union with Beck and Mark Brown. It's a joy to hear this group's wide influence exemplified in moments that liken the riff intentions of Jimi Hendrix and the width of space that only Pink Floyd could create.
Dave Master's tom work on "Enter The Wigwam" opens the album, moving with unique anticipation much like The Yeah Yeah Yeah's track "Maps.” If that's any indication, this song is already on the right path. Sly and sexy, Staub's voice joins the guitars and the verse builds toward dancing cymbals. Then the groove relaxes, sitting beneath the gang vocal "All hail the Wigwam,” a statement of this album's mantra, punctuated by a quirky hit that further grounds the message in the listener's memory. Funk guitar and organ send "Flash" on a fun ride that lasts up until the backyard chugger that is "Cross of Lorraine." The tempo shifts back in the favor of rock n' roll and we hear this group really flesh out on "Spirit Drive" before "Dovetail" returns the soundscape to familiar places, bringing back the psychedelia of the 70s with pure intention and excellent musicianship.
"On The Old Brandywine" tells a puddled honky-tonk tale about sweet love gone sour. The lyric, "You wasted nothing but your time," sums it up pretty well. And just when you think you have them all figured out, The Late Ancients bring in the horns. A whole new mood is introduced on "Whiskey Jim" and it's as close as we get to pop on the whole album. But before any more sparkling, the flow steps back and leans on the shoulders of blues. The album closes like it began, with a reprise of the somewhat haunting chant "All hail the Wigwam” on “Exit the Wigwam." Strange abducting sounds are weaved throughout the album to act as transition effects. This tactic is used most profoundly toward the end creating continuity worthy of praise.
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