Album Review: Ceremony – Rocket Fire

Before even having heard Ceremony’s Rocket Fire in its entirety, I proclaimed them to be The Best Band in Virginia, based solely on the amazing sucker punch of a performance they gave back at the U Street Music Hall in June. Now, having finally heard said record in all its sensationally searing glory, I’m solidly sticking to my guns. With that being said, friends, I’d like you to meet Ceremony. They’re from Fredericksburg, they’re nouveau gaze in its finest of fine fettle, and they’re going to do nothing short of fry your little brains.

Rocket Fire is the sweat equity of two Fredericksburgers, Paul Baker and John Fedowitz. The noise these two make as Ceremony is both beautiful and terrifying, full of snarling ferocity as well as dazzling rays of sweetness and light. Rocket Fire could be straight outta 1981, but in the way that only the most modern and on-point music can be. It will quite possibly make you yen for My Bloody Valentine, but also make you hanker for Ceremony themselves. “Stars Fall”, the album opener, exhibits both elements of Ceremony, the sugary sweetness and the liquefying oblivion. Crunching, jagged guitar cuts through the fabulous fuzz and the kick of the drum machine, while honeyed vocals offer respite from the attack of the instrumentation.

Even better things await the further you wade into the intense mess of sound that is Rocket Fire. “Breaking Up” is simply blistering, fierce layers of fuzz creating a blinding backdrop for lovelorn vocals. “Marianne” is another favorite, scorching guitar and still more fuzzery playing off the lovesickness of the lyrics. “You’re killing my soul, Marianne,” goes the lament, while the wall of noise undulates every which way. “Silhouette” has rapidly turned into quite possibly my favorite of favorites on Rocket Fire, darkly sinister as it is and with that fantastic rapid fire drum machine action. The heady, scathing swirl of the guitar and bass also add to the intense appeal of said song (and, to a greater extent, said record).

At this point in time, I’d say that if this here record doesn’t end up on my Best of 2010 list, hell might possibly have turned into the Arctic. And if you don’t make it a point to add this record to your collection, well, I fear there might not be any hope for you, ladies and gents.

mp3: Breaking Up (Ceremony from Rocket Fire)

mp3: Silhouette (Ceremony from Rocket Fire)


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