Progressive rock never truly went away after the 1970s, but like other subgenres of music it evolved and splintered off into more and more styles over time. The type of highly technical and often psychedelic rock music pioneered by the likes of Pink Floyd, Yes, and others, gave way to the hyper-literate indie prog of bands like Lightning Bolt, the noise-drenched psychosis of bands like The Mars Volta, the progressively-flavored metal of bands like Dream Theater, and the punk-inflected precision prog and math rock of acts like The Dismemberment Plan, At The Drive In, and Lowell’s own Horse Mode.
These various sub-genres and sounds that emerged out of progressive rock’s success are all well and good of course, but it’s in the opinion of this writer that the classic, atmospheric prog sound where it all began is long overdue for a comeback.
And The Band Dennis of Lowell is just the quartet to lead the charge.
For further proof you need not look any further than their debut EP, When The Daylight Comes. Clocking in a little over twenty minutes, Daylight wears its reverence for Pink Floyd’s interstellar trappings on its metaphorical sleeve, and is staunchly unapologetic about it. It may only contain four tracks, but they’re more than enough to get across the band’s grand mission statement: Dennis is going to take you to outer space and leave you to drift aimlessly for a little while.
Seth Rohrer‘s quiet, Damon Albarn-like croon lends some gentle tenderness to When The Daylight Comes numerous intergalactic prog rock explosions, often paired with his own sinuous synth-playing, while guitarist brother Sean Rohrer offers up some razor-sharp guitar precision as well as hazy, distorted soundscapes. All this free-wheeling experimentation is perfectly anchored by bassist/co-vocalist Mario Boiardi and drummer Robert Wall. (Who might just be one of the greatest rhythm section duos in the whole of New England.)
No studio recordings can compare to the experience of seeing Dennis perform live, which is a marvel of musicianship and noise freak-out extravagance…but damned if When The Daylight Comes isn’t a pretty good replacement. There’s few better accompaniments to a bright starry night, staring up at the vast reaches of the galaxy, than to flip this EP on and allow the universe to wash over you.
I have yet to figure out what movie to sync this up to, though.
– Lee Martin
For Fans Of: Pink Floyd, Spiritualized, Amon Duul II, Mercury Rev
Key Track: “Stars”