ALBUM REVIEW: Sundrifter – An Earlier Time

Small Stone Recordings, which is famous for the renowned Acid King and Wo Fat listed in their roster, sure got their thing going by releasing An Earlier Time (Small Stone Records), the third studio album of none other than Sundrifter. Having been around since 2012, the Boston-based desert rock trio has left significant marks through their 2016 debut Not Coming Back, and their 2019 sophomore album Visitations. They have also shared stages with a wide range of fellow heavy psychedelic units, King Buffalo and Gozu

In the production department, this masterpiece was done by a team of masterminds as well; Dan Schwartz on production/mixing, Chris Goosman on mastering, and Branca Studio on cover art– advancing the game of profound complexity they were trying to envisage.

They are accustomed to combining the power of doom, stoner, and desert rock with epic and melodic vocals. This time around on An Earlier Time, they also managed to expand the atmospheres they present by incorporating many elements, ranging from post-rock under the nuance of Hum, melodic commands of Soundgarden, to Radiohead-esque contemplative expressivism.

Not only incorporating elements of post-rock and the above listed nuances, in my opinion, the listeners also would be able to sense some sludgy undertones similar to that one of Pelican’s on this album. Although, the key influences behind the creative process of this album happen to be Forming the Void and fellow Small Stone counterpart Abrahma.

The vocals that guitarist/vocalist Craig Peura delivers on this album are heavily influenced by nineties alt rock, which produces an impressive closure by blending it with stoner-doom-desert elements. When it comes to the substantial meanings of the songs, one of them was explained by Craig Peura himself. “Begin Again” was the first single to be unveiled in advance of the official release of the album, and he stated it’s a song about coming to terms with your battles and overcoming the inner negative voices inside your head. 

Overall, this is an album with strong tendencies of depictions revolving around space and the desert, which is to be expected. The lyrical themes tend to be rather spiritual, while still maintaining the imagery that they have been consistently presenting. Only that this time, there’s a slight blend of post rock, which comes across as quite well-incorporated.

Buy the album here:

8 / 10