“Turn off the lights and put the strobe light on its slowest setting, Hidden Ritual’s second album is full of post-punk ghoulishness.”
Based in Austin and making their brand of gothy psych-rock since the early part of this decade, Hidden Ritual have just released their second album, Always. Even though you may not hear it, the new record draws inspiration from Mexican singer-songwriter Juan Gabriel and freestyle recording artist, Johnny O. Recorded in analog and sounding more like the softer side of early ‘80s post-punk, Always draws you into a ghostly after hours party in a dark basement—this is the way, step inside.
Simple and eerie, “Weird Middle” sets the record off. The simplicity of production is immediately apparent as the guitar, bass and drums sound totally natural. This contrasts with the reverb-drenched vocals and keyboards. “Rat” is droning and there’s something in it that brings to mind Three Imaginary Boys era Cure. The creepy and mysterious title track “Always” has a dueling guitar and keyboard above driving bass and drums. “Limo” brings to mind Bauhaus as singer Jaime Zuverza makes Peter Murphy-style moans.
Like a lo-fi horror movie or hazy 3am basement party, Always is ghostly and something weird might happen at any moment. Paying careful attention to tone and atmosphere, Hidden Ritual have written a record that captures a wonderfully creepy mood.
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