When I think of Texas, I have a stereotypical view of cowboys, saloons and everyone saying ‘y’all’; however, I don’t think that’s the case. One thing I really didn’t expect was dream-pop bands popping up with their psychedelia and synths. One of these intriguing artists is the Texas foursome Roadkeeper.
Founded in 2018, Roadkeeper is an independent music project featuring Daniel Griffith, John Hetherington, Trevor Tull and Nicklaus Cogdill. Since their formation in 2018, the group have released cathartic singles combining elements of shoegaze with indie-rock undertones. Succeeding the well-received single ‘Sundowners’, released earlier in 2020, Roadkeeper presents ‘Downs’.
A common thread seen in Roadkeeper’s music is a tackling of sociopolitical issues, such as police violence, border control and climate change. ‘Downs’ is their sixth single and utilises a more cinematic sound than Roadkeeper’s previous tracks. Far more contemplative and personal, ‘Downs’ is an insight into finding one’s place in contemporary culture. Melodically, the single begins with synth-based psychedelia but merges with a more upbeat indie as the song progresses. I have to admit, this rather unique movement from a soothing synth aura to a heavier atmosphere is quite captivating. Once the vocals kick in, Roadkeeper bears a striking similarity to The Cure.
Due to the constant evolution of sounds, it’s very difficult to label artists nowadays. Roadkeeper and their track ‘Downs’ is clear evidence of 21st-century genre-bending. I still like to think they make all this music in cowboy hats saying ‘y’all’.