On their latest album Ceremonia, blanket explore what it means to unleash a modern rock staple.

Release date: March 22, 2024 | Church Road Records | Official Website | Bandcamp | Instagram | Facebook | X/Twitter

In my review for blanket‘s latest EP Blue Eyes, I asserted that whatever future endeavors they would partake in, it would undoubtedly be a great one given the fantastic songwriting presented on that short but tasteful release. The Blackpool-based act are now following it up with their newest album Ceremonia – a record that I can confidently consider a modern rock staple. A bold claim to make (believe me, I’m fully aware), but there are reasonings as to why this album struck me this way, ones that we’re certainly going to explore throughout this write-up. Nonetheless, what blanket accomplished here ultimately showcases a drive to leave a lasting impact with something that might not seem as present nowadays, and that is – with all bluntness intended – to make great fucking songs.

And look – there are a lot of great songs at our immediate disposal; no one is going to question that. If there is anything that we’ve learned in this digital age, it is the fact that there is so much out there to enjoy. A gigantic network of musical stylings and moods crossing each other and firing in all directions towards uncharted territories is taking place at this very moment, with bands and artists alike building upon established genres to focus on either wanting to perfect or capture the essence of a certain sound to the fullest, or defy musical conventions altogether… and I wager that that’s when things get too lost in the weeds. Art is in great part about making sacrifices and, in this case, it’s absolutely possible for artists to strive for perfection or innovation to the detriment of crafting music that properly conveys the free-spiritedness of rock as a genre.

Ceremonia is a different breed in that regard. It’s been a good while since I’ve come across an album where I simply kicked it back and found myself lost in all of it. A nostalgic feeling, I might even add, as listening to it reawakened some cool memories of replaying the shit out of releases from bands like Green Day or Alice In Chains. Not a comparison in sound per se, but more so the experience of thoroughly enjoying a record in its entirety without any focus nor preconceptions of genres.

“Euphoria” served as the first taste of this new album cycle, immediately locking you in with driving instrumentation and a sense of melody that is both fiery and, well, euphoric. The song constantly holds back and releases a shockwave of energy in graceful fashion, a trait that characterizes and further refines Ceremonia‘s overall appeal. The first half of the album is particularly fond of this pacing – opener “Nuclear Boy Scout” is massive in all the right places, providing the necessary push to bring out the shine found on the song’s colorful chorus, to then go right back in being unapologetically shattering, as demonstrated on the insane vocal delivery on its bridge section. The same goes for the title track and “Kaleidoscope”, albeit delivered from different angles: “Ceremonia” sports out textured passages and heart-throbbing bass to unleash a ripper of an alt-rock cut, while the latter is unabashedly anthemic in presence, harkening back to the greats of the post-grunge era through its boastful riffing and overall soaring songwriting.

The piano-driven interlude “Sea of Bliss (reprise)” marks as a proper transition to a back end that is reminiscent of blanket‘s previous shoegaze-y and metal-tinged post-rock ventures, while never losing sight of this new sonic brand they’ve embraced hitherto. Although briefly introduced on the album’s rapturous third song “Porcelain”, the track that follows said reprise, “Loom”, is the most representative of the bunch – shimmering in essence but with an exhilarating sharpness that cuts through your auditory senses in the most precise manner. Even when blanket mellows things down, their keenness on making sure every part of every song is lasting does not falter in the least. This is especially true with the record’s closer “Final Call”, displaying an emotional heft supported by exceptional layering that is entrancing yet ultimately catchy.

The feeling we wanted to capture is an Indie Rock band loud in a room‘ states blanket on the official description of the album and I think there’s no other way to succinctly put what went through my mind when going into Ceremonia. It’s that spontaneity that we sometimes crave for in a rock album, and blanket manages to capture this exact feeling that is additionally fitting for the times while never straying away from their sonic upbringings. The replayability factor of all these tracks is honestly impressive and the fact that the album ultimately serves as the proper introduction to their new sound attests to the sheer momentum the band has been able to establish for themselves. There’s no other way around this – Ceremonia is what a modern rock record should aspire to be.

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