Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Old Ceremony Walks on Thin Air

The Old Ceremony, named after Leonard Cohen's album New Skin For the Old Ceremony have been floating around the Chapel Hill scene since 2005 and have toured up and down the east coast while quietly releasing two albums and preparing to release their third Walk On Thin Air. Sounding something like a folksy sort of band with hints of indie rock thrown in, The Old Ceremony's songs are rustic, lush, and quietly subtle.

Walk On Thin Air is far from bombastic and loud. Instead the album is reserved and laid back choosing to take the low road and softly go about its business without really raising much of a ruckus. Therein lies it's problem. You see, there's really nothing that makes Walk On Thin Air want to stand up and be counted (except for the fact they could very well be one of the few bands around to use the words plate tectonics in a song). The album is really just sort of there kind of wandering along doing nothing but simply existing.

In other words, the songs that make up Walk On Thin Air aren't overly bad or overly good; they're just kind of there and as a result they're sort of like aural wallpaper. Walk On Thin Air is a perfect title as the record has a hard time making it's presence consistently felt. In fact, a vast majority of the songs here are inconspicuous and aren't songs that want you to pay attention to or are tunes you want to hear over and over again. There are exceptions of course, and the Tindersticks-ish theatrics of "The Disappear," as well as the aforementioned "Plate Tectonics," stand out, but for the most part the record just doesn't do anything.

The Old Ceremony are a talented bunch to be sure, but their songs just lack a degree of excitement that folky records need. Walk On Thin Air isn't horrible, but it's nothing overly exciting either and until The Old Ceremony get away from being stuck in the middle of the road they'll just sort of be around.  If they manage to pry themselves away some exciting things could happen. I hope that moment happens because I really want to hear more geological rock and roll songs!

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