ARTIST: MODERN RITUALS
LABEL: HOLY ROAR RECORDS
WORDS: SARAH SHODIPE
It was only June of last year – that’s ten months ago – that Modern Rituals released their debut album ‘The Light That Leaks In‘. Eager to keep up the momentum, the Bristol-Londoners (depending on how you look at it) have come back with a four track EP entitled ‘Yearning’. Filled with crashing walls of sound and reverb-heavy melodies, ‘Yearning’ builds on the band’s debut record in a naturally satisfying way.
Kicking off with the epic – and kind of eerie – ‘Alfredo Snivellin”’, the band invite in with a set of ghostly vocals. With breakdowns abounding and thought-provoking similes, the tune is post-punk in nature at some points but almost has a classic rock sound at others. It’s all tied together with that intense distortion that’s pretty easy to swallow all things considered. A short but super impactful track.
“Filled with crashing walls of sound and reverb-heavy melodies”
In a similar vein, ‘The Great Terror’ is a prime example of a grimy, rough song with ultimately bright content in it. In a recent interview, frontman Harry Fanshawe describes the song as “happy”. As you listen to the track, the use of such an adjective is up for debate; especially as in the same interview, he says the song’s about a child traumatised by his abusive teacher. Even with such a bizarre message, there’s an intricate lyric delivery on the song, and throughout the EP, that gives it its personality.
If you want something that is a little more worthy of the description “happy”, then ‘Shroud The Works’ might be a bit more up your street. A stripped back, delicate thing, the track has a glimmer about it as the strings dip in and out. That rough singing is still there to remind you you’re listening to a Modern Rituals song, but the main difference is this one takes the listener on more of a journey than another track on ‘Yearning’. The layering of the guitars, drums, keyboard and everything in between gives it a depth like nothing else.
“hidden amongst it all are luscious, inviting moments of melody that strike just the right balance”
‘Thick Wall’s intro comes across like the final overture of a tragic musical. That repeating riff and harsh violin and ethereal vocals of Fanshawe’s gives a melancholy yet somewhat optimistic sense to it. To be able is strike that many chords that well with three and a half minutes is quite a feat to behold.
For a release made in such a short amount of time, ‘Yearning’ is as good a follow-up EP as any. Heavy distortion and layers of sound, stitched together by Fanshawe’s articulations. Yet hidden amongst it all are luscious, inviting moments of melody that strike just the right balance for a surprisingly pleasurably listen. A well-executed EP with a very fitting and apt title, as throughout, you really get a sense of the band’s yearning.