Ceremony – Zoo Ceremony – Zoo

What the fuck, Ceremony? Seriously. Why the fuck do you keep doing this to me? I hear Still Nothing Moves You and I fucking love it. It sounded like a goddamn breath of artful bitterness long ignored in the calloused assholes of hardcore (though I’m told Violence Violence is even better) but then I hear Rohnert Park and think “Oh, right, grumpy punk rock. I guess Henry Rollins is too old for this shit so let’s just spray paint the walls and move on.” Then I saw your asses play at Fun Fun Fun Fest and I was blown away by your tension and menace, your fucking 80s art rock guitar player and your dead-eyed cover of “Pressure’s On.”

But now, you’ve proffered Zoo and I’m pretty sure that I should fight you.

You see, the first couple of times I listened to this record, I gave it a chance. Really, I did. I opened my ears under the nihilistic assumption that punk can be anything, anytime, anyplace and that the reason this record takes such a drastic stylistic shift is because the best thing a punk can do with a major indie debut is spit in the face of it’s own fury and produce a record paced almost wholly midtempo and whose lyrical banality must (MUST!) be some grand statement on/with/against the casual American’s witless subterfuge.

But, I don’t know dudes. The more I listen to Zoo the more it just sounds bored and, worse yet, boring.

And I hate fucking boring.


You know what it is? It’s not the band. It’s not the songs. They all work in their own strange way and though they may wane here and there between some sort of post-punk allegorical 50s solipsistic slowdance shuffle and a good old Wire chug-a-lug they never sound out of place or time or purpose.

It’s the fucking vocals.

Ross Farrar’s using some needlessly listless Stroke-y pantyphone effect which keeps him at a distance. Even when the record strikes its fiery brand of purpose with the opening and hopelessly anthemic “Hysteria” (from which everything goes decidedly downhill) he doesn’t sound like he’s there. In fact, the more I listen to Zoo, the more I get the impression that Farrar is belching the whole damn album from a stained Lay-Z-Boy stationed somewhere in the Midwest smearing his face with a Domino’s Eight Cheese, Stuffed Crust XXXL Pie du Shame.

Or is that the point?

Should I fight the producer?



1. Hysteria
2. Citizen
3. Repeating the Circle
4. World Blue
5. Quarantine
6. Brace Yourself
7. Adult
8. Hotel
9. Ordinary People
10. Nosebleed
11. Community Service
12. Video

Ceremony - Zoo, reviewed by Charles on 2012-04-25T06:53:02-07:00 rating 2.6 out of 5

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