Ceremony – “The Separation” Track Review + More!

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Ceremony is a band that everyone in the punk community undoubtedly has an opinion on. The group is either applauded for their constant evolution and shifting sound bridging the gap from hardcore to post-punk, or the group is criticized for the exact same reason. Particularly because they don’t have the speed or raw intensity their early work did. Well, Ceremony is back again, this time with three new tracks from their upcoming record on Matador, The L Shaped Man.

The release comes in the form of a 7 minute combined music video for “The Separation” and “The Understanding”. From the initial guitar lines and piano notes of “The Separation”, it’s clear this is a new side of the band. The track then kicks in with full force, influence from bands like Joy Division and Matador label-mates Interpol. Ross Thomas’ deep and still energetic vocals really stand out in this track and it gives life to his lyrics, with the main chorus “Can you measure the loss” striking an immediate chord, especially when the line is mouthed by the blankly staring woman who is the primary subject of the video’s narrative. Instrumentally, the band does a great job of being able to make even the sparse moments of the song still sound huge.

After the final chorus of “The Separation,” “The Understanding” begins. “The Understanding” is overall a slightly slower and more scaled back take by Ceremony that adds a nice contrast the way the tracks follow each other. The drumming in this track really sets the tone perfectly and its slower nature is a perfect fit for Thomas’ vocal delivery here. Lines like “Baby, say that it’s over” and “That feeling may never stop” further the theme of “The Separation.”

While the tracks go on it seems only natural that smoke, shadows, and dark blues are the main backdrop while the band plays. Loss is the primary subject of both of these songs (and most likely much of The L Shaped Man as a whole) and the narrative portions of the video with the woman character do an excellent job of visually representing the “separation” and “understanding” that come from a break-up or loss of a loved one.

The third track released by Ceremony is “Your Life in France”. While this track is the catchiest of the three, primarily due to the sliding guitar line and the fantastic drumming, it’s contrastingly grim and introspective in its lyrical content. “People you loved/Places you saw/Portions are gone” is repeated throughout the latter half of the song and illustrates the theme of “Your Life in France” directly. It also sharpens the focus of The L-Shaped Man on personal loss and isolation. In the haunting black-and-white music video, Farrar contemplates this loss while he walks down the streets at night alone, cutting to shots like cars passing by, smoking, or a record spinning to show his alienation.

Ceremony continues their refusal to stick to one genre for long; and fans of Ceremony’s last album, Zoo, (especially tracks like “Repeating the Circle” or “Video”) will definitely find a lot to love here in the potential of its follow-up. The L-Shaped Man is out on Matador records May 19th.

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Matador preorder: http://store.matadorrecords.com/the-l-shaped-man

Ceremony Big Cartel preorder: http://ceremonyhc.bigcartel.com/



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