Vinyl Colour: black Release: 2015 Label: MATADOR Records
Ceremony's fifth studio album, "The L-Shaped Man," uses singer Ross Farrar's recent breakup as a platform to explore loneliness and emotional weariness, but it is by no means a purely sad album. Rather than look inward, Farrar uses his experience to write about what it means to go through something heavy and come out the other side a different person. In order to tell Farrar's story, Ceremony has almost completely stripped back the propulsive hardcore of their previous records, turning every angry outburst into simmering despair. It brings to mind some alternate version of Joy Division that hasn't quite lost all hope. It gets close to exploding, but instead plays the shadows, never quite rising above a nervous simmer. The sound is abetted by producer John Reis, who honed his sound in seminal bands like Rocket from the Crypt, Drive Like Jehu and Hot Snakes.