If you’ve been frequenting JOVM over the past few months, you may have come across a couple of posts about the Lexington, KY-based band Ancient Warfare. The project can trace its origins to when its creative mastermind Echo Wilcox (vocals and guitar) was studying photography and motion graphics at the Savannah College of Art and Design. When she approached Duane Lundy of Shangri-La Productions during the winter of 2010, Wilcox had a collection of loosely established songs heavily informed by a process that involved translating traditional visuals into a conceptual soundscape. Eventually, Lundy became a producer and collaborator as Wilcox fleshed out her original compositions into a full-length album. And over the years, Wilcox continued to write material, while the band has gone through a number of iterations.
The project’s latest iteration features Wilcox, multi-instrumentalist Emily Hagihara (who’s best known for working with Chico Fellini and Jim James, along with her solo work), violinist Rachael Yanarella (of Oh My Me) and recently recruited bassist, Derek Rhineheimer (also of Oh My Me) and “Gunsmoke,” the first single off the band’s recently released album, The Pale Horse channels Phil Spector Wall of Sound-era pop, as the song possesses a swooning, romanticism thanks to the gorgeous string arrangements paired with Wilcox’s smoky vocals, soaring backing vocals and rock ballad guitar chords. At it’s core is a very gothic love story – the sort that Edgar Allan Poe would have written in the 1820s, in which the hero (or heroine)’s love is recently dead, and the hero/heroine is dangerously and unnaturally obsessed with their lover’s death.
The recently released official video for the song continues with that gothic mood as it follows an obsessive and strangely acting man, backpacking and hitchhiking across the South for materials for a shamanistic ritual that transports him to the same woods, where he dances like a madman as the members of Ancient Warfare perform the song. The video manages to conjure ghosts and dark spirits and in a similar fashion to the song.