Ceremony: Not Tonight
Custom Made Music

Virginia-based Ceremony (Paul Baker and John Fedowitz on vocals, guitars, basses, and lo-fi drum machines) follow up last year's Rocket Fire full-length with four new tracks of signature blaze. The opening title track comes roaring from the speakers like some nuclear assault, led by a buzzsaw guitar storm and Ian Curtis-like vocals that somehow manage to be heard amidst the raging inferno. Here and elsewhere, what elevates Ceremony's music is that—like The Ramones and My Bloody Valentine before them—the band may serve up its material at an ear-splitting level but doing so can't hide the pop heart beating at the tornado's center. Though it may be hard to imagine, the ferocious “Leaves Me Cold” ups the intensity ante even more than the title track before “Dreams Stripped Away” takes over, slowing the tempo ever so slightly and even working a slightly funky feel into the rhythm attack; don't think for a moment that the band's gone soft, however, as the crushing wall of feedback coursing through the song makes clear, and be sure to strap yourself in when “Take You Down” wraps things up with three minutes of slaughterhouse boogie served up Ceremony-style. Catch'em while you can as their ears'll only probably hold up for the next half-decade or so before they're forced to pack it in.

April 2011