so the other day I got a CD in the mail to review: The Old Ceremony's self titled debut. They're from Chapel Hill, NC and are playing at Iota in Arlington on Friday, though I will be busy so I can't go. Check em out if you like their stuff - their myspace page has 4 songs (including one of my faves, "American Romeo", and their website has two more.

So here's my review:

First off, I should say I guess they aren't my cup of tea - I like peppy, poppy rock stuff generally, and while the Old Ceremony's music is pretty good, it's not something I'd probably listen to too often. I think fans of the Dresden Dolls, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Rachel's, Andrew Bird, and They Might Be Giants' less jokey stuff will like them, as they're a bit jazzy with a cabaret-music feel. Most of the songs are mid-tempo or slower, and are largely acoustic - violins, pianos, drums, xylophones and so on with the occasional light electric guitar, and the sound is warm and deep, which I like - good production. The press stuff describes them as a "pop noir orchestra" which is pretty accurate, as a lot of the songs are somewhat somber and melancholy. Some of the songs aren't terribly unique, but the musicianship is good throughout - I think an intimate place like Iota will suit them pretty well.

My favorite songs on the disk are "Shadows", the first song, which sounds pretty Dresden Dolls-ish to me, and "American Romeo," which is sort of happy and poppy and They Might Be Giants sounding, with TMBG-ish chord progressions and even what sounds like an accordion. Songs like "Ole", "Pennsylvania", and "Out of the Blue" are kind of boring to me and somewhat predictable. "Carry the One" reminds me of Morphine, with the deep, somewhat scracthy voice and sax. I sort of wish the songs started to rock out like some of the Dresden Dolls songs do. That being said, the Old Ceremony don't seem pretentious like the Dresden Dolls, and probably won't attract drama nerds dressed like the band members either.

In all, I will give them a rating of 6.5/10, as they're pretty good, just not what I'm into. I do bet they put on a pretty good show, as their music sounds like it would translate well live.

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