There’s a lot of amazing music that comes to mind when listening through the second outing from NYC’s The Ritualists but none of it actually lives up to what Baroque & Bleeding actually brings to the party. Sure, there’ll be comparisons to Franz Ferdinand or to Pulp and White Lies (Both of whom have been produced by B&B producer Ed Buller) and even to any number of bands emerging from the mid-’00’s Brit Rawk revival but what Christian Dryden and The Ritualists collective has conjured up together on their sophomore record is the sort of aural originality that comes once in a lifetime.
The title track which opens up this banger is a stomping anthem that does exactly what it’s supposed to: Reels. You. In. But it’s “Queen Of Dolls” that follows next which takes this second effort from The Ritualists to new heights purveying an almost spiritual air with the way Jeffrey Andrew’s keys mystify and bring to mind The Tea Party’s The Edges of Twilight. “Forbidden Love” sticks on that path as well sitting somewhere between Bowie and the aforementioned White Lies with David Andreana providing scorching guitar lines that pair nicely with Andrew’s transcendent angelic synths and Dryden’s harmonious vocal melodies.
“Everybody Is On The Radio” is all about Dryden’s magnificent pipes (And Ignacio Lecumberri’s boomin’ bass lines) as is “Of Anonymity” which also shines a light on Andreana’s stellar guitar licks while “Monsters” is a modern sweeping arena-ready ballad that’s equal parts Tears For Fears and Duran Duran as it is The Darkness at their most earnest and humble. “Illusion of Poverty” is another magical melding of styles, organically transfixed in an era where the rave was New Wave but also firmly planted in the rawkin’ now.
Drummer Eric Kuby’s steady sticks refine the rhythm section prowess alongside Lecumberri for “Pretty Star” then dive into the decidedly more spacey “Mothman” with Andrew’s keys once again providing the perfect atmosphere to surround Dryden’s sanguine sonic soliloquies and Andreana’s screaming riffage to close out Baroque & Bleeding in the most proper and profound way possible.
Baroque & Bleeding comes alive on December 3rd through Suite 484 Music. You can get all the B&B streaming and pre-order deets by heading here and for the latest from The Ritualists, be sure to follow the trail of socials by clicking here or here.