Ceremony: Rocket Fire
Though Rocket Fire's opening song, “Stars Fall,” rides in with a gloriously humming roar of guitars, drums, and vocals, don't be fooled by the buzz-saw intensity and punk-level volume: Ceremony's music is pop at its core, as evidenced by the melodic hooks that flow through each one of the album's ten thunderous tracks. On grounds of vocal style there's little similarity between the groups but in general approach—pop songs stripped free of excess and smothered in rampaging noise—Ceremony has more than a little in common with The Ramones (some semblance of ‘60s pop form is audible within the blistering storm that engulfs the roller-rink groove that steamrolls through “Silhouette,” for example). Ceremony's sound is more shoegaze than punk, however, even if traces of the latter can be heard in the duo's super-charged attack. The group, incidentally, rose from the ashes of Skywave, with bassist Oliver Akerman forming A Place to Bury Strangers and Paul Baker and John Fedowitz banding together to form Ceremony. Powered by basic drum machine beats and thunderous guitar riffs, the songs of Baker and Fedowitz produce a joyful noise that's exhilarating and more conventionally ‘musical' (as in accessible) than one might expect. Just be sure to strap yourself in before torrential tunes like “Don't Leave Me Behind” and “It's Too Late” unleash their ear-splitting howl.