CEREMONY are back with their most driving, intelligent collection of songs to date. In the Spirit World Now marks a milestone for the legendary Californian punk outfit who have stayed true to themselves as songwriters throughout massive sonic growth throughout their long, storied career. It sees Ceremony take another step into a space they can truly call their own, as one of punk’s most unique and forward-thinking bands.
Ceremony‘s lead guitarist Anthony Anzaldo doesn’t want to talk about the fact that his band has been around for over ten years. Or that they’ve drifted away from the hardcore genre that made them, or that they jumped ship from their long-time label, Matador Records, to join Relapse Records instead. Or that their sixth album will mark four years since the iconic punk band has released any new material. These things aren’t really important. What matters is that In the Spirit World Now is Ceremony‘s most visceral and hard hitting record yet.
“We knew this had to be the best thing we have ever done. We couldn’t come back after four years with a record that only had a few good songs… Not reflecting on the evolution of the band is what keeps us motivated. There is always a song we haven’t written, a band we haven’t played with, artwork we haven’t thought of. We are creators by nature, not by choice,” Anzaldo admits.
Produced by Will Yip (Title Fight, Circa Survive, Turnover) and mixed by engineer Ben Greenberg (The Men, Pharmakon, Hank Wood And The Hammerheads), In the Spirit World Now grows with each listen, balancing Yip’s pop sensibilities with Greenberg’s noise-punk influence through dramatic, shining synthesizer hooks and a mature vocal strategy. Drummer Jake Casarotti and bassist Justin Davis power through the 11-tracks as a strong yet sparse backbone that interlocks with guitarists Andy Nelson and Anzaldo to create a pop-centric, post-punk canvas for frontman Ross Farrar to expel the most vulnerable parts of himself.
Farrar, who has been studying and teaching at the Syracuse University MFA Poetry Program for the past three years, has found himself as a vocalist on Spirit World, not only sounding more confident and in the pocket than he ever has before, but exploring amorphous lyrical territory about arrested development, botched relationships, and the never-ending hamster wheel of self-destruction so many creatives fall into.
“I’ve been very interested in will, as in a person’s faculty of consciousness and how we navigate actions and self-control,” Farrar says. “I’ve been worried for a long time that my lack of self-control will inevitably destroy me, so any paranoia on that matter is focused on this record.”
Spirit World is a carefully composed punk record by a band who is so in tune with one another as players that their physical separation didn’t affect the music when it came time to get together and work. Despite living in opposite ends of the country, they met up, rehearsed the new material, and demoed it out in Anaheim at a friend’s studio. After two weeks, the tracks were loose with Farrar only mumbling melody ideas on top of the band. A few months later, they linked up with producer Will Yip and he flushed out the demos, helping develop the structure as the songs took shape in the studio. To add some grit to their slew of polished post-punk hits, Anzaldo called on Greenberg to help develop melodies and interject synthesizers and keyboards into the songs before he mixed the record.
In the Spirit World Now sees Ceremony at the height of their creative output, as the always-evolving Rohnert Park quintet take various influences from post punk and rock to create one of the summer’s most compelling and infectious records. It’s out August 23 via Relapse. For pre-ordering info go here. Ceremony have also announced US record release shows and are on tour now down the US west coast with Sheer Mag.
IN THE SPIRIT WORLD NOW
AUGUST 23, 2019
1. Turn Away the Bad Thing
2. In the Spirit World Now
3. Further I Was
5. Presaging The End
6. Say Goodbye to Them
7. We Can Be Free
9. Years of Love
10. Never Gonna Die Now
11. I Want More
12. From Another Age
14. Calming Water