Slowly but surely over the past couple of years, a style of music has been making a steady resurgence from the depths of the industry. While bands have been experimenting with adding electronics to their breakdowns and considering whether a black metal reinvention is needed, 90’s grunge and alt rock have been rearing their heads and creeping back into the forefront of the scene. With ripped jeans and flannel shirts at the height of fashion, everything has come full circle and bassy riffs and mumbled vocals are the order of the day. With bands like Title Fight, Superheaven and Basement leading the revival, it’s the turn of Missouri’s Dream Ritual to roll back the decades with their self-titled debut EP. It’s gonna be nostalgic kids.
Kicking off with the building bass-driven swoon of ‘Green World’, the band sound classically 90’s but still thoroughly modern. It’s easier than not to take influence from the past but fall flat and get stuck within your own self made hole. It takes something special and a real sense of musicianship to make a noise that defined a certain time in history relevant and exciting 20 years on. Where many have tripped up and succumb to the label “rip off”, Dream Ritual seem to have honed in on this and filled in any cracks before delivering their music. Demonstrated perfectly through ‘Fade’ where rollicking drums and psychedelic guitars clash against screeched vocals. It’s familiar, but also crisp and vibrant.
The influence from the heavyweights of yesteryear is unmistakable throughout the EP as well. One minute channeling Smashing Pumpkins, the next Slowdive, the band take pinches of the forefathers to spice things up, while still managing to keep the music essentially their own. ‘Fade’ borrows heavily from classic Pearl Jam, while ‘25’ possesses an addictively soaring chorus that carries a whiff of Nirvana snottiness with it. If anything. Dream Ritual are opening doors to bands that listeners may have forgotten about, pushed aside or not given a second thought to. This is the true power of the revival and more proof that everything eventually comes full circle. Rounding things off, ‘Hamptons’ is a gloriously down tuned future summer anthem, while six minute closer ‘Little Specks’ brings things to a profoundly riffy climax.
Concluding, ‘Dream Ritual’ is a record best consumed through sepia-toned glasses. A densely layered, grooving collection of songs that has rooted itself firmly in the past while still managing to sound fresh. Those looking to roll back the decades to an era that feels like a lifetime ago will find a lot to enjoy and lose themselves in, while those unfamiliar with the sound will give themselves a solid starting point to a journey of discovery. The next step is to see if Dream Ritual can keep up this consistency across a full-length album. If they can step up to that plate, the future is looking real rosy.
Dream Ritual by Dream Ritual is out now on 6131 Records
Words by Jack Rogers (@JackMRog)