Any sonic seeker here? Be prepared because we’re going to dive into the otherworldly soundscape of Lockstep! The Nashville-based band’s debut EP Arrival, self-released earlier this year, is a well-balanced record that puts together Post-Rock, Shoegaze, a little bit of heaviness and a cup of spacey, almost-ethereal sounds.
Lockstep is a trio formed by Austin Rolison (Drums and Vocals), Matt Schumacher (Guitar and Vocals) and Tanner Ihrie (bass). They may only be a trio, but they play like they’re a quintet or even bigger. The accuracy of their sound on this debut is really well-studied and executed and that is a very good note for a first record.
The band is presented suggesting a sound similar to Jesu, Holy Fawn, and Cloakroom, and I can easily understand why but I also reckon their uniqueness. This kind of rough heaviness mixed with some spacey-shoegaze is truly one of those soundtracks that doesn’t bore me quickly.
This space odyssey begins with “Weave”, the track that is the overture of this record. Here, we can find haunting vocals that take center stage, combining with the flow of the music. It’s a carefully constructed introduction that sets the mood for the whole EP, showcasing the band’s ability to build depth through moments of lightness and of strong intensity.
Following the atmospheric introduction, “Purity” unfolds blinking an eye to Doomgaze, raw riffs and a darker atmosphere. The interplay between the instruments becomes a dance, with each note contributing to a larger, emotional narrative. Lockstep skillfully navigate the delicate balance between Doom, Post-Rock and Shoegaze, which to me, once again, is perfect.
The title track, “Arrival”, emerges as a feedback-heavy instrumental. Amid this sonic landscape, Lockstep create an immersive atmosphere. The instrumental nature of this track serves as a core moment of the entire record, allowing the audience to lose themselves in this ethereal and spacey interlude.
“Hunger”, which was also pre-released as a single from the EP, showcases Lockstep’s desire for lush guitar-driven melodies accompanied with soft voices. This track is another one that fully embodies the sound of the band, and it also emanates a sense of the present moment.
“It Leaves” again balances the Heavy Rock, Doom part of this record. Its rhythm reminds me of darker sounds but is early picked up and sent into space with its dynamic nature and its Post-Rock evolution. A harmonious blend that leads us to the end of this record.
Closing this gaze-journey, “Swelter” begins taking a a hint from all the previous tracks, is the final act of this record and it may seem almost orchestral in its execution, even if we still have only three instruments. Refiguring and reassembling all the themes of the record, this track sums up the balance in the sound of Lockstep.
It may not be their final form, since this is only their debut, but I can say that it’s a pretty good start from here.
I am curious to see what will come up next from them in the future!