Sunday 18 October 2020

Dawnwalker - Crestfallen EP

Labels: Self-Released

Formats: Digital

Release Date: 10 Apr 2020


1. Crestfallen

2. Pollen Cloud

3. Towpath

4. The Way Home

5. Lost Wisdom (Mount Eerie Cover

6. Pagan Plains (Acoustic)

I'm loving the colours of the trees at the moment as Autumn truly takes hold. I mention Autumn because because this EP by UK experimental rock band Dawnwalker was released back in Spring, when new green shoots were growing all around. 'Crestfallen' was recorded and released digitally, having been created by a number of musicians alongside the band's main songwriter/performer Mark Norgate, during lockdown. I feel that reviewing it now might give people a slightly different perspective on this year's events but also provide a sense of optimism too. At least, that's what I'm hoping for anyway.

This EP was entirely home recorded by all members of Dawnwalker (plus collaborators) and it embodies the true spirit of togetherness that was felt during the lockdown. The EP’s title track ‘Crestfallen’ contains progressive time signatures, strong instrumental melodies and crashing dissonance at times. Musically and vocally it’s not meant to batter your brain, but to envelope you gently and bury itself in your head. 

Aside from the progressive rock element of Dawnwalker’s sound, folk is also used to provide a balance and ‘Pollen Cloud’ very much feels like a modern-take on the genre with calming clean vocals and layers of instrumentation that grow with each bar. It’s repetitive nature brings to mind Enya for large parts and it’s only until the final sixty-seconds that Dawnwalker’s modern rock makes an appearance again.

‘Towpath’ follows immediately and with it, an about turn in atmosphere and musical terms. Black metal-like vocals are joined by much heavier tones in a song that’s startlingly good and still retains the calmness of the band’s post-rock influences, especially the latter sections. It’s a sign of just how versatile this group of musicians are.

With ‘The Way Home’ comes a nod to Fleetwood Mac, in a subtle way. The soaring dual clean vocals sit alongside shoegaze-like guitars and sensitive percussion to provide something different again. Dawnwalker is not rooted in any one genre, which in turn means that they can enjoy the process of creating and releasing music, and that is passed onto the listener here.

There’s a cover of Lost Wisdom (by US experimental/indie band Mount Eerie, who on a side note were also covered/remixed by Wolves In Throne Room back in 2018). I’m not going to profess to know much about Mount Eerie, but this song is very obviously Dawnwalker’s own interpretation and as such it covers a lot of what makes their individual sound so unique. Combining all of their lighter and heavier elements.

They round out Crestfallen with an acoustic version of their song Pagan Plains (originally released on their 2018 full-length Human Ruins). It’s a lovely way to end an EP that’s given so much to savour. It’s a slightly melancholic song but it doesn’t become depressive or downbeat at all. It’s absolutely perfect listening for a clear and quiet morning.

At it’s end, Crestfallen leaves you bathing in calm reflection and as eluded to in my opening paragraph, does provide a sense of optimism. It has no set agenda or formula, which should come a no surprise given it’s lengthy list of collaborators, including Dane Cross (Sacred Son), Matteo Bianciotto (Turbomaniacs), Chris Allan (Chris Allan Drums), Sian Alex (Gold Baby), Hugo Terva (Metasoma) and Robin Melinda Koob (Run Remedy). The mixing of Wayne Adams also helped to bring it all to life and sounds great here. Links for all of the above can be found via Dawnwalker’s bandcamp page.  

You can stream and buy Crestfallen digitally below:-

Dawnwalker -

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