Rohnert Park punk rockers, Ceremony, are due to release their fifth studio album, The L-Shaped Man, on May 19th.
Supported by a double video for the songs “The Separation” and “The Understanding,” the two videos explore the aftermath of a breakup as front man Ross Farrar sings the line, “Can you measure the loss?” The videos are personal and dramatic, shot in a dark setting, exposing a beaming light on Farrar and a woman who are dressed in nighttime garb and stand motionless. The rest of the band plays their instruments in the shadows, like a soundtrack to Farrar’s unfortunate reality. The characters, like mannequins, adjust positions throughout the videos without much motion, mainly assuming tantalizing postures that illuminate an unsuccessful reconciliation.
The two videos, followed by another recently released video, “Your life in France,” gives insight into the inspiration behind this record- a recent breakup that galvanizes loneliness and emotional weariness. The songs, while emotionally analytical and somewhat sad, don’t exactly mirror its content. Ceremony has matured and moved past the sound of fast, brutal punk rock to a more elementary, softer tone, driven by the influences of Joy Division and The Smiths. Esteemed producer John Reis (Rocket from the Crypt, Drive Like Jehu, and Hot Snakes) helped shape and define their sound for this record.
The idea behind the name of the album came from a conversation Farrar had with their tour bus driver and gives credit to a San Francisco painter. “We were talking about men in general and what shape they are… their body type. I said, ‘I guess men are in the shape of an L. The torso is straight. Vertical. And then you have the little feet at the end.’ There’s this painter named Leslie Lerner who was living in San Francisco in the ’70s and ’80s and made these beautiful paintings. He died on my 21st birthday. A lot of the record is about the similarities in our ideas. In what we’re trying to make, things that have to do with love and losing love.”
While the band may have abandoned their punk rock sound, they still haven’t forgotten their ties, kicking off a two month U.S. tour at the infamous Gillman Street in Berkeley on May 22nd.