Review: Drag It Down on You by Ceres
There’s something about music that connects past and present unlike any other art. Maybe you’re sitting at home, maybe you’re walking to work, but when you hear that damn line—you know the one—it all just comes thundering back to you, doesn’t it? The same must go for the authors who penned those lyrics-- when they sing it into the mic, it should strike from their souls too, shouldn’t it? If you really consider those nostalgic moments, it’s not only the lyrics that get you—maybe there’s a melody that paints a decade-old image in your brain. Watch your body move through the same things you did ten years ago. This is that same feeling, something warm. For maybe only a moment, you forget who you really are, the adult you’ve become. You’re just a little kid with the sky swirling around you. On “Drag It Down on You,” the new indie-emo record from Australian band Ceres, that feeling becomes an immersive, emotional, and anthemic soundtrack well worth a listen.
The record begins with “Okay,” a song originally written ten years ago, according to vocalist/guitarist Tom Lanyon. Thus begins a theme throughout the album as we progress between past and present through Lanyon’s history of heartbreak. The song is pulled from a gentle riff soaked in midnight, a serene and pleading track that is interrupted before it properly ends by lead single “Happy in Your Head,” a rush of blood to the face. It feels like bursting back into the now, feeling a different kind of hurt… the familiar come to life again. Lanyon sings confidently, passionately, and chockfull of bitterness. The melodies on this record are entirely original, yet oftentimes strike this all-too-familiar nostalgia that burns of teenage years, running in your neighborhood underneath the summer sun. There’s a 90’s emo-punkness to this album that hits all the right places, but a maturity to it—a learned valuing of the present.
Each song dynamically rises and descends, led by Lanyon’s proudly painful voice as he puts the pieces of his life-puzzle together. There’s a hunger in the band here. Guitars coil and wind, chugging when necessary. Bells twinkle, drums throttle in the throat, and at times, particularly in “Nothing On Your Shoulders” and “Baby’s Breath,” there’s a Hotelier-esque (Home-era) blend of beautiful and discordant, bringing forth earthshattering catharsis. There are some gentler moments too, like in “Spinning Wheel” and “Us,” where in the former, the band smoothly transitions from a whisper of a song, guitars taking root, before their buzzing grows and grows, eventually rioting in all directions. The effects are always felt fully—by Ceres and the listener, on both sides of the sound.
On “Drag It Down On You,” Ceres have crafted an astonishing set of songs, but also published a timeline of powerful emotion—in which the tortures of childhood begin to look similar to the tortures of the present. Yet it’s threaded by an ardent hope. It’s a hope bruised by sorrow, but a hope strong enough to turn towards the future. And with the last lines on huge closer “Baby’s Breath,” Lanyon explodes in a hopeful yet sorrowful plea, screaming out, “I know you're not me, I'll learn that one day / I know, I'm sorry / Missing a lot of things.” The delivery of such simple, yet extremely powerful lyrics is one of my favorite moments to come from this genre in a long time. The album is, in fact, one of my favorites of the year.
Listen to the album on Bandcamp!