ALBUM REVIEW: Ebonivory – The Long Dream I

Release Date: June 5th 2020
Label: Wild Thing Records
Website: None available
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ebonivoryband
Twitter: www.twitter.com/ebonivoryband

Rating:

Several variables come into play when crafting a sonically enthralling piece of music. There’s nearly always a subconscious desire for familiarity and homage; highlighting key influences. Combining this with unique intent, not merely wanting the work to exist in a limited space, and, perhaps most importantly of all, sincerity, are crucial to crafting something truly captivating.

For Australian prog-rock new-schoolers Ebonivory, each aforementioned box is ticked in almost obnoxious fashion on their second full-length, ‘The Long Dream I’. Equal parts epic, cheesy, grandiose, and grounded; by fusing elements of djent and modern prog with certain shades of more pop-leaning alternative rock the band are able to conjure up a dynamic and densely layered sound, inherently their own.

Complex, mathematical rhythmic grooves and low-end chugging coalesce seamlessly with swell after swell of gorgeous, delicately arranged keys. This shifting, ever-expanding instrumental core elevates the material to near prog opus level while never coming off as heavy handed or self-indulgent.

The sheer breadth and scale of some of the tracks is noteworthy, and, while a record clocking in at a full hour is no big deal within the realms of prog, several of the group’s peers often adhere to a more get in, get out approach. Ebonivory, however, play something of a long-game. Songs grow at their own pace, demanding focus and attention before truly blossoming into their full expansive scope, with ‘Window Man’ and recent single ‘Explosions After Dark’ both amounting to sheer audible triumphs.

Founding member and multi-instrumentalist producer/composer/singer Charlie Powlett is, admittedly, the make or break point. His soaring vocals are of the over the top variety, with parallels to the likes of Rody Walker (Protest The Hero) or Josh Rogers (Sullii, Crooks). He exudes an astounding level of confidence and expert control, while the juxtaposition of often intimate, personal lyrical content with sweeping instrumental finesse is as commendable as it is endearing.

There appears to be enough self-awareness to navigate through the lighter, more pop-oriented fare, never allowing for the ship to sink too firmly into the sea of cheese. It’s a fine line with which Ebonivory teeter on, constantly knowing when a cheeky toe can stray into an unfamiliar pond and when to reign in right back in. This delicate balancing act highlights not only the clear ambition on display throughout, but evident restraint and calculated precision which will only grow more beneficial with future releases.