Ceramic - The Past Ain't Far
Some albums you just know you will like right off the bat. Such is the case with Ceramic's The Past Ain't Far. Weighing in at ten tracks, just long enough to be a full length album, we have a collection of songs that are heartfelt, possess a warm sonic consistency throughout, and are all performed with great musical skill. It has its edginess, but not in the same way as their self-titled 2005 EP. At the heart of this release is an organic quality that separates the best from the rest.
The sound is folksy singer/songwriter fused with country and blues influences and traces of psychedelic rock. That may sound a bit too broad, but they somehow make it all work - quite nicely, I might add. There were times I heard Tom Petty, other times Fleetwood Mac. But Ceramic manages to carve out their own niche with their own unique style and twist to it.
There are tons of lovely surprises throughout the record. On the short but sweet groove oriented "Who's Gonna Guide the Night" we hear a horn solo about a minute into the track. It was so unexpected and so refreshing. Definitely hit the spot. I wish this one was longer, as it stops abruptly at 2:35. Then you have the ultra-funky "How'd You Get So Down" where the extra reverb and FX on the vocals rest on a rhythm bed of shuffling drums and brushes. This one was even shorter than the last song mentioned.
The depth of the lyrics as well as the tone of lead singer John Scheaffer's voice compliment the overall vibe and sound of the music represented on The Past Ain't Far. On the album's title track, words just seem to roll off Scheaffer's tongue, "The past ain't far behind you, here's to the beatings that made you strong enough to walk away". It all makes for a very smooth listen. From the acoustic intro of the beautiful ballad "The Wait" to the distorted guitars on the heavy and bluesy "Velvet Coat" and "Lose the King", we have a diverse album that doesn't really break any molds or push any foreign envelopes of sound, but instead tinkers with subtlety and nuance and is extremely easy on the ears.
For all the reasons mentioned above, Ceramic is a band I plan to follow. I have no bones to pick other than the album - as well as some of my favorite tracks on the album - just being way too short. But I suppose leaving the listener wanting more is not a problem Ceramic should be concerned about. The Past Ain't Far; hopefully more good music from Ceramic ain't too far either.
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