Written by: AP on 17/11/2012 11:05:40

Since their formation in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2005, Ceremony have garnered a fine reputation as purveyours of excellent hardcore punk and strange live performances. Over the last couple of years, however, the band has begun moving in a different stylistic direction - something that was evident in the softer tone of their 2010 album "Rohnert Park" - ultimately embracing the original punk sound on this fourth disc "Zoo", which came out earlier in the year.

Where previously bands like Trash Talk, Punch and Rotting Out could be mentioned in conjunction with reviewing a Ceremony album, on "Zoo" the influences are entirely different. "Zoo" takes us back to the day when it wasn't important whether or not the vocalist of a punk band could really sing; whether their guitarist(s) knew how to play guitar beyond the obligatory three chords. Of course, the five musicians that comprise Ceremony have already proven that they can do these things on previous outings, so "Zoo" should be thought of as a worship of a time when what mattered most in punk music was the message.

It is a given then, that the lyrics spat out by Ross Farrar in that distinct Ramones-style voice are politically charged and characterized by equal parts anger and despair. There is no way around "Zoo" without the lyric booklet. But at the same time, in a time where neat production tricks are slowly but surely sucking the life out of the instruments, Ceremony sound extremely refreshing with their ringing guitar tone, echoing atonal vocals and warm, audible bass. It's everywhere, this organic, human vibe to the proceedings: in the chaotic album opener "Hysteria"; in the slower post-punk stylings of "Brace Yourself", "Hotel" and "Video"; and in the straight-up punk assault of "Citizen", "Ordinary People" and "Community Service".

Having said that, however, it is obvious that "Zoo" will not be everyone's cup of tea. It takes considerable patience before the album fully divulges its charm, particularly if you're a newcomer to the original sound of punk like myself. Indeed, the band's refusal to sandpaper the sharp edges from their recordings with production techniques is likely to alienate a significant number of potential listeners, as the best way to describe the sound of "Zoo" is to call it garage; there is a deceptively amateruish feeling to the songs here that dictates those without the interest or attention to detail are unlikely to find much to rave about in the cavernous, slow-burning chime of "Nosebleed", for example.


Download: Hysteria, Brace Yourself, Nosebleed, Community Service, Video
For the fans of: Fucked Up, Paint It Black, The Ramones
Listen: Facebook

Release date 06.03.2012
Matador Records

Related Items | How we score?
comments powered by Disqus


© Copyright MMXX Rockfreaks.net.