Austin-based Hidden Ritual’s second album Always is receiving some great attention from those who respect well executed takes on sounds from music’s past. Still Single describes the band’s sound on this album by piecing together a massive collage:
They take minimal, strummy, percussive post-punk (think the Feelies ca. Crazy Rhythms) and couch it in a murky, yet very carefully-filtered environment of reverb, synths, lounge motifs, and stock-still vocalese reminiscent of Ian Curtis or Ian McCullouch. The result is driving yet muted, combining the most effective parts of ’50s/’60s sleepwalk pop gloom, the malaise of early Felt, Velvets-y strum, and disciplined mope—imagine Broadcast writing a new arrangement to the Chills’ “Pink Frost,” perhaps, and you’re getting warm. I’m sure you could throw another two dozen or so references against Always, and there’d be reason enough for them to stick.
In the law of musical averages, an album can sometimes be the sum of the musical references that reviewers use to describe it—which puts Hidden Ritual’s Always in excellent standing. Add to that Still Single’s claim that the album fits the “season of uncertainty in which we currently walk each day, as well as the decay of autumn and the lengthening of nights as the year inches towards a close,” and we think it’s pretty well worth checking out. Preview and buy the album here.