Ceremony – The L-Shaped Man Ceremony – The L-Shaped Man

Ceremony - The L-Shaped Man (2015)

Ceremony – The L-Shaped Man (2015)

This review is being written in the course of a beer. The last beer of six, I hear. A cold, sixteen-ounce mother hidden in the back of the fridge just waiting for some unsupervised Sunday to come along and give his hoppy malts merit and so here I am inviting in his pleasure while Ms. M. is off to the upstate with friends and the dogs are reduced to snoring puddles of comforting truths and I should really be all up with regretless, worst kind of naked shenanigans but, instead, I’m listening to The L-Shaped Man.

And that makes me feel totally petty and pruned because, though I knew full well that Ceremony had been digging a course for grave youth since their covers EP turned into Zoo and it became obvious that their hyper-vigilant rage would eventually subsume into the no punk but post-punk moon that’s been lighting up the satellite of bad times more and more with every year since Curtis slipped the noose but, still, it’s hard to swallow a record whose best track is a Spaghetti Western reimagination of “Digital” called “Your Life in France” from a band that once nearly broke my teeth out with an errant microphone during a particularly inspired cover of “Pressure’s On.”

And I know, I know that age begets a certain softening of aesthetics and that reappraisal can be weird if not awkward and ugly and if you throw a broken heart into the mix, you’re bound to end up with something turgid or retread or suffocated and – to be perfectly frank – I have absolutely no idea where Ceremony is going now or if they are at all but I’d like to think that The L-Shaped Man is the record that finally finds the band exposed at their most uncomfortably earnest because I could do with some dumb honesty and plaintive reflection.

I could exalt this album if it were offered as a bumbling mess of men who knew they were most piquant when they (or Ross, really) knew love as the forge and the anvil of their tattooed portent and now, in it’s absence, are reeling around familiars looking for comfort and vision because there’s no balm for loss like the art that first broke your heart but I don’t know with this band. I have a tremendous affection for them even though most of their albums rub me wrong most days and watching them play, sometimes, I wonder if they even know they’re sharing the same stage or care.

Maybe they don’t. Maybe they do. All I know is, I’ve slipped on to Scotch and that can only lead to an “unsettled” mood.



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