The Orchard Keepers, Song of the Day: “Driftwood Abbey”

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Local Indianapolis band The Orchard Keepers bring a progressive rock and punk energy to their new track, “Driftwood Abbey”.

While last week we focused more on Indy bands that made the most of the previous decade, this week we’re looking at ones that are coming out with new music in 2020. It’s great to look at the past, but 2020 is a year to be looking to the future. Hakuna Matata, and all that.

All that being said, our song of the day for today does come from the tail-end of last year. But just because we like it so much, we’ll give it a pass and consider it a part of 2020.

But before we get into our song of the day, “Driftwood Abbey”, first here’s a little more information on The Orchard Keepers, for anyone who either hasn’t heard of them, or is just a bit curious.

The Orchard Keepers

The Orchard Keepers are a three piece punk rock band from Indianapolis that’s been making a name for themselves for the past several years. They’ve headlined Punk Rock Night at the Melody Inn, sharing the bill with the Katatonics, Reuther, and Lousy Sue, and have opened for bands like Thelma and the Sleaze, Skating Polly, and the Coathangers. Later this month, they’ll be playing a local showcase at Black Circle Brewing Co., sharing the stage with THiN LiNES and Fifth Lucky Dragon.

The trio’s backbone rests on the longtime collaborators and friends, vocalist/guitarist Ayanna Miller and bassist Ella Roberts, whose shared appreciation for Cormac McCarthy led to them naming their group after one of his novels. After being a part of several groups throughout their friendship, the two met drummer Nick Underwood along the way, and The Orchard Keepers were assembled.

The Orchard Keepers released their debut single, “Tiny Orchard Men”, along with their debut album, “Stick Face”, in 2017. The following year, they released the four-track, four act, horror EP, “Freudian Slip”. And just last December, they released the double-sided single, “Sugar Spit/Driftwood Abbey”, half of which we’ll be talking about today.

Driftwood Abbey

“Driftwood Abbey” is one of the two singles that The Orchard Keepers released last month, but it’s hard to say whether or not it’s better than the other, “Sugar Spit”. Both songs have a similar frenetic, punk energy to them. But while “Sugar Spit” is more of a non-stop ride, “Driftwood Abbey” settles into more of a groove.

The song starts off with a slightly jarring and disjointed bass riff, that is quickly joined in by a shredding guitar that pulls the two together. The intro doesn’t last long, but moves into a groove and the verse within the first thirty seconds. Miller’s vocals do a great job of carrying the melody, as well as the bulk of the song’s energy with her powerful voice.

The intro section comes back a little over halfway through the song to serve as a kind of bridge section, as well as a platform to launch off into a chaotic guitar solo. The Orchard Keepers seem to love chaos, and we love them for that. And we especially love them for their ability to reign in their chaotic elements just enough to follow the structure of a song. It’s just good songwriting, at the end of the day.

The last thirty seconds of “Driftwood Abbey” feature a reprise of the chorus, this time with drummer Nick Underwood providing some background vocals that overlap with Miller’s. It’s always nice to hear a drummer providing some vocals. Unless we’re talking about Ringo. Then it’s a little disappointing, but still acceptable.

Final Thoughts

Overall, The Orchard Keepers’ “Driftwood Abbey” is a solid punk rock song with a lot of energy, and some nice surprising transitions along the way. Miller’s vocals deserve a special shout out on this track, as well as her guitar work. While she and Roberts make a good songwriting team, it’s Miller’s voice that is inseparable from the identity of The Orchard Keepers.

If you enjoyed listening to The Orchard Keepers’ song “Driftwood Abbey”, you can listen to more of them by visiting their Bandcamp page. You can also find The Orchard Keepers on Facebook.

Finally, for more coverage on the local Indy music scene, be sure to check out the LemonWire Music Corner, where we’re showcasing local artists from the Indianapolis community.

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