Artist: Ancient Lasers
Title: You In The Future
Label: Deep Lake Records
Catalog #: DLR055
Keywords: Electo Rock, Electro Pop, Indie Pop
Ancient Lasers is the electro indie pop solo project of Washington native and California-rooted Daniel Finfer, also of Post Human Era. Its debut LP You In The Future was produced by Daniel Anderson (of Idiot Pilot and Glowbug), who plays a number of instruments on the album along with Finfer. The sound the two Daniels come up with is rather unique, coming off as some bridge between the indie electronica of The Postal Service and the rocking elements of Nine Inch Nails. Now, just listening to the album opener “Ancestors,” one might be fooled into thinking this is just another indie band, particularly in Finfer’s nasal, breathy vocal delivery that is so familiar to Pacific Northwest performers, which is paired with a low-key, yet propulsive beat, driving, yet not aggressive guitars, and some light electronic glitch manipulation. It is exactly the kind of music that packs shoebox-sized clubs with hipsters getting their awkward white people dance on, so please, be fooled—I was—but only for a little while, because this stereotype will soon come crashing down.
“Ancestors” is a good track to kick off You In The Future because it both sets up the listener for things to come and exists as a contradiction to the later material. The set-up comes in exposing the audience to Daniel Anderson’s slick, polished production, which holds throughout the album, even on the rawest of tracks. The contradiction is in the song’s completely subdued nature, which does not come back until much later on “When Are We?” and “The Way It Has To Be.” This low-key melodicism gradually slips away in “The Wheel,” drowned out by bigger beats and Finfer’s Trent-Reznor-esque melodic scream (that vocal tone at the threshold between singing and shouting) that blossoms towards the end and is frequently present on the rest of the album. The drum tracks get progressively crunchier too, another familiar Nine Inch Nails reference point, but tuneful songwriting and emotional pop-influenced lyrics keep things from turning into total NIN worship. Some of You In The Future’s best moments are found in the album’s middle ground and its last two tracks, with Ancient Lasers fully achieving a unique merger of catchy indie melodies and electronica flavors. Those looking for more driving material also have something to enjoy here with the title track and three others scattered about the album, which lyrically feel a little formulaic at times, but add some urgent rocking energy to the collection.
Lyrically, many of the songs on You In The Future express emotions through much larger themes, especially the passage of time. On the catchy closing track “Descendants,” for example, personal mistakes are extrapolated to a societal level, leading to the chorus “Why do they repeat themselves? Why is this happening again?” Ancient Lasers is indeed very mindful of time, particularly the future and humanity’s place in it. The album came to Yeah I Know It Sucks’ attention through Italian netlabel Deep Lake Records, but is also available through the project’s bandcamp page, where Daniel Finfer asks that instead of buying his album, fans please donate to a number of forward-thinking research organizations. Regardless of where the human race fits in the future or anywhere else, many of its members are likely to enjoy Ancient Lasers’ unique blending of genres on its LP You In The Future.