Ancient Lasers’ sound proves difficult to track. Even vocally, it shifts between a muscular Ben Gibbard (lord knows his tweed is strong) and grunts worth of Trent Reznor’s macho swagger in the 2000s. Perhaps from these juxtaposed elements, Ancient Lasers frontman, Daniel Finfer, finds his direction—not ironically a theme of the album. There’s no clear genre space, although the rock, electronic, hip-hop and pop sensibilities recall The Postal Service, 30 Seconds to Mars and even M.I.A. for brief moments but it’s not without its own, distinctive flourishes. This, perhaps, is due to the writing of Daniel Anderson, a similarly named and talented artist.
Much like Finfer’s previous efforts in Post Human Era, Ancient Lasers is an unabashed pop album—there’s no shame in the word either. This is an album made by people who enjoy music. Drummer Christopher Newton provides some outstanding work on later tracks while multi-instrumentalist, Daniel Anderson, provides high-quality production values as well as a myriad of performances throughout. Highlights include instrumental track, “When Are We?” which sounds like Radiohead on ecstasy—and years of therapy.
We might not have our rocket boots or fly DeLoreans—but Ancient Lasers may yet represent the closest thing to the future’s soundtrack.
- David Peters, author