York, Pennsylvania’s Reservoir can easily be called one of the most intricate bands out right now. They manage to balance on the line between 90’s emo, slowcore, and post-rock genre’s, and somehow do it all at the same time and really well. Their newest record, Mirage Sower, coming out on Glory Kid Records on March 31 with pre-orders up now, blends pieces of early emo acts like Sunny Day Real Estate, with vocal styling’s reminiscent of Gospel, and heavy riffs in the vein of Floor and Torche. To say that Reservoir bares it all on this record is a massive understatement. Gloomy, emotional, and real. This is Reservoir. This is Mirage Sower.
The record opens with what I can only describe as early 90’s emo meets folky swamp music. A low churning guitar soars in and out with thundering drum rolls as a banjo twangs away in the background. “Lightning Bug” is a dimly light farmhouse on a dusty field, or settled on wetlands with a single candle. The song’s dingy introduction leads into an off timed distorted part about halfway through until the end. An oddly uneasy and anxious outro that only adds to the atmosphere Reservoir has already foreshadowed for the rest of the record.
“Howl” is perhaps my favorite track on the record. The song brings to mind Old Man Gloom via the song “Gift” as well as Gospel’s The Moon Is A dead World. Its haunting chorus-chants brood under the slow heavy churn of banjos meeting guitars in a gloomy Midwest town. Reservoir create an unsettling atmosphere similar to that I felt in True Detective season 1.
Reservoir manages to create so much sound while still leaving plenty of space for movement and much needed breathes of air. “Moons” moves on in eerie fashion; slowly and meticulously with the help of beautiful guitar picking, some slight piano drops, and well placed vocals. A song full of sunset drives on dusty roads in the summertime. “Moons” is contrasting comfort and unsteadiness, happy and sad, hopeful and regrettable, familiar and unexplained.
The record closes with “Smoke Signals” which again remind me of Old Man Gloom heaviness with that southern swamp rock vibe. The song weighs a ton. The shoulders of giants would weep at the burden this song bares down on them. At times it comes on in heavy doom fashion, and at other times it’s slow churning and haunting. A perfect way to tie in the humid mix of emotions on this record. These songs are more than songs but are distinct emotional journeys. Each holding weight and atmosphere that creates in some way a spiritual journey through some eerie and yet beautiful place. A record that is sure to take some time to digest fully, but one that is sure to be re-visited for years to come.