Though Ceremony is certainly their own band, there is a classic photo of hardcore heroes DYS that embodies half of the spirit of their new record, Rohnert Park. DYS were a band from Boston in the early ’80s, pissed off straight edge kids finding a middle ground between angry thrash and fun fraternity. In the photo, you can see their singer Dave Smalley launched into the air, hand X’d up, eyes totally clenched, about to uncork some serious fury, despite his extra puniness. Beside him, their guitar player is totally jamming, epically excited playing a flying-V guitar about the size of his entire body. Ceremony, they’re around 25 years after this photo was taken, but that same rage in happiness is present in Rohnert Park, especially in this first single, “Sick.” After a war dance drum intro and some very Black Flag scalding open feedback, singer Ross Farrar screeds like the snotty punk he is, Sick of Jello molds/ Sick of condos/ I’m sick/ I’m sick/ I’m sick sick sick Sick of the GOP/ Sick of liberals/ Sick of me. The song is a bulldozing hardcore workout of what he’s sick of, contrasting ideas encompassing, finally, all of mankind. That’s where the other half of Ceremony comes in—they’re bored by modernity. Just as hardcore largely started as an outlet for protest of Reagan-era wrongs and absurdities, it subsists as a medium that fulfills time, endless dull, suburban time. That’s exactly what Rohnert Park is: a suburb. Check the cover of the album above, Minor Threat sweatshirt, skateboard, pretty white house, endless whatever California nothing days. Fox News, John Stewart, CNN, BitTorrent, Hulu, Netflix. You’ve got everything and it melts into a samey syrup. “The Doldrums,” a later song on Rohnert Park, is the defeated partner of “Sick”: I have to get this complacency out of me/ Why oh why are the doldrums killing me?. There’s no yelling on this song, just a meandering blah blah. Turns out, in these times, mumbling is the same as screaming.
Stream: Ceremony, “Sick”