Band: Ceres Album: Drag It Down On You Genre: Emo/pop-rock Date of Release: 2nd September, 2016 Location: Melbourne, Victoria Reviewer: Chris Giacca For Fans Of: Turnover, Basement, Bloc Party Track Listing: 1. Okay 1:49 2. Happy In Your Head 3:52 3. Roll Ur Eyes 2:59 4. ’91 Your House 3:46 5. Laundry Echo 2:26 6. Spinning Wheel 3:41 7. Loner Blood 1:42 8. Choke 4:30 9. Talking 3:05 10. Us 1:26 11. Nothing On Your Shoulders 3:19 12. Loaf 3:13 13. Del 3:20 14. Baby’s Breath 3:47
There’s something to be said for honesty. For instance, if I said ‘I thought I’d hate this record’, that would be honest. If I said ‘the singer’s moustache looks like he waxed it off a ’70s porn star’s cock, and then slapped the wax strip straight above his top lip’, that would also be honest. Honesty is good, and so is this album.
Funny thing about honesty, it doesn’t always equate to quality. I’ve just spent a lengthy amount of time arguing with people about King 810, and the main thing I got from them was ‘but they are honest, and that makes them better than x band’. No. No, it doesn’t. Just because a band, or vocalist, or poet, or writer, can relate what they are writing directly back to their own life experiences, does not mean that their product is inherently good. Leaving aside the whole subjectivity argument for just a second, the point is that, whilst honesty is a great trait to have, if it isn’t allied to interesting, engaging execution, it probably isn’t worth shit. In the case of Ceres, however, they have managed to ally a believable schtick, to an aurally pleasing sound, and that is what ultimately makes this whole record work.
Starting off, the first thing that really struck me was the rawness of the whole recording, especially the vocals, which is a profoundly refreshing change from the over-produced, super edited norm in most genres these days. You wouldn’t believe how good it feels to actually hear some vaguely pitchy moments, and little fluffs here and there. Nothing song-breaking of course, just real, actually performed and captured parts, free from all of that studio trickery that we have come to accept as the norm now. It is amazing how much emotion you can actually convey when you are more concerned when singing the song, rather than the notes, and believe me there is a huge difference.
The instrumentals are all perfectly complimentary to the vocal delivery, with plenty of gorgeous natural tones that display a very broad dynamic range across the board. The bass is actually there, and it sounds glorious, thumping away underneath, giving its own colour to the already dense palette available. There is a certain kind of familiarity about the way the songs are structured, but in saying that, they have taken great care to use dynamics to their full effect, in order to ward off the contempt that over-familiarity can quite easily bring. There is definitely enough variation in these fourteen songs to warrant repeated listens.
Drag It Down On You is a very accomplished showcase in every way, from the emo revival chic of ‘Happy in Your Head’, ‘ ’91 Your House’, ‘Choke’, and ‘Roll Ur Eyes’, to the more subdued tension and release goldmine, ‘Nothing On Your Shoulders’, to the more ambitious rhythmic belter ‘Loaf’. ‘ ’91 Your House’ in particular really caught my attention. It perfectly encapsulates the modern-Australiana vibe that Ceres have in spades, the vocalist perfectly preserving his accent without it pissing you off like many of his contemporaries are guilty of. The lyrics are direct, yet poignant, which is an exceedingly difficult balance to strike, and one that is very easy to skew one way or the other. ‘Baby’s Breath’ is another absolute cracker, jam-packed with palpable emotion, and an album closer par excellence.
To sum it up, this album rules. It is wonderful from start to finish, with no redundant tracks or filler. Everything serves, and executes, its purpose. Drag It Down On You is the perfect soundtrack to spring, so I can absolutely understand the release date. I can very much envisage the JJJ crowd chucking this on as the backdrop to a barbeque, or even a private introspection session, such is the versatility. A quality release, to be sure and certain.
Chris Giacca just may be the worst writer in the world, but it doesn't matter because he probably still has a bigger audience than you, so he is by default automatically right about everything. No exceptions. He's currently writing a novel which will be uploaded in single chapter installments as spoken word on bandcamp. Physical releases will be on laser disc only, limited to 17 1/2 units. Don't ask about the half.