The Ritualists Make Being Baroque And Bleeding Sound Good

Baroque & Bledding cover
Credit; Alexandra Vladescu

We need to be Baroque & Bleeding. We need the Ritualists.

We’re just not sure. We don’t feel strong. We feel our own mortality. Don’t we, at the moment? Not all of us, but a lot.

Our artistic life is so important, so vital to our lives and music seems central to that, as Pitchfork said:

At the peak of the pandemic, musicians and fans on the precipice of boredom adapted to a new normal in the most natural way they could: by organizing and creating.

So many bands and artists I spoke to during the pandemic who were worried about releasing music in that time experienced wonderful sales; people wanted to enjoy.

But where were the bombastic, big sounding Indie and Rock bands, the ones who brooked no dissent? Even the Manics have gone soft.

Step forward The Ritualists. This is both Baroque & Bleeding. And it’s just amazing.

As their press release tells us, ‘When the world fell into turmoil from the pandemic, The Ritualists dove into the studio to work out their frustrations and fears creatively. ​What emerged from that effort is Baroque and Bleeding…’

There’s big Glam n’ Shout feel to the up first title track, as Christian Dryden’s vocals cosset and that big pushy chorus, a lovely self important feel which is, yes, pretty Suede.

The size of this Rock music, ‘cos that’s what is, is great to hear. Songs like ‘Forbidden Love’, with its string and Disco feel, ‘Of Anonymity’ where that choppy, dancefloor guitar sneaks in and the big sweep of ‘Everybody’s On The Radio’ are really big statements.

And then the Radio Rock of driving down the freeway ‘Dead Eyes’ delights as does that lulling vocal melody in ‘Monsters’, cut by David Andreana’s angular solo.

Blimey, ‘Pretty Star’ opens up that high, keening guitar line to really push through and they end with the synth heavy early ’80s sound of ‘Mothman’ which develops into a huge guitar squall off.

As you’ll see, almost every track is mentioned. Why? They’re all pretty special. This is about big, self important Rock, which doesn’t care what you think, it wears its quality with pride.

As NewsWhistle summed up in the band’s publicity, ‘The Ritualists bring to mind such names as Suede, The Cult and Echo & The Bunnymen… dripping with charm and new wave psychedelia.’

At the heart of the Ritualists’ album is perhaps a discourse on authenticity; that all depends how you define the word.

It’s yours, so whether you feel this is Art Rock, Suede similarly or Glam gorgeousness, mainman Christian Dryden would cover them all, as he told Glide Magazine:

We embrace Roxy Music, T. Rex, David Bowie, and I’m a Duran Duran fanatic. All of that stuff has been embraced in the New York scene…I also love Television, Blondie, and the New York Dolls, but I’ve always gravitated towards the British Stuff.

That’s a hefty list. And one The Ritualists try to meet head on. He also told Glide Magazine that he has a hope: ‘I’d like to believe we have a signature style and sound’.

It’s more than that. This is a statement. About authenticity. About music being something you can climb on top of and look at the multitudes below.

That’s so important. The Ritualists have that all over their second album. Baroque and bleeding good.

Written by Steve Swift

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