Reviewed by Mark Plummer
Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture; whether the band took their name from this figure because they’re farmers at heart, or just because it sounds powerful and alluring is unclear, but they’ve delivered on all fronts with their debut album: I Don’t Want To Be Anywhere But Here.
First impressions are that of a first release; whilst they definitely haven’t got the sound of an album that only cost a few hundred bucks to throw together, there’s a definite rawness that can only be found on a first album. With this, they manage to carry the impression of an album that entraps the listener into believing they are there watching this band right in front of them.
To say that this album is a collection of chaotic, yet ordered moments is fair; each track is light and nifty; dabbling fleetingly here and there; not lingering on one song for too long before expanding themselves on another. Nothing is overdone and none of these songs feel like they over-stay their welcome. Sometimes it could be criticised that one track ends sooner than it should, but overall this is well-balanced so as to provide fulfillment in abundance.
Instrumentally, it’s marvelous. The rawness lends the quality of not being overproduced on the low-end. Yes the bass is a prominent feature, but without any overpowering connotations; instead there is a clarity between each instrument. The guitars are trebly, with a pinch of distortion that gives them the crunch and grit needed to not seem pathetic and weak.
My personal highlight would have to be the confusing guitar during the intro of Three Times: carrying a little of this distortion, it certainly stands out; holding the unique tones of an acoustic instrument this adds wonderment and keeps it separate from anything that has come before. This sets up the longest track on the album at just over six and a half minutes in length, yet it feels nothing like its length; instead there are variations a plenty that keep it constantly interesting throughout.
It would be easy to make comparisons between a variety of bands, but there’s no real need to compare it to anything that has preceded it, this release clearly stands by itself. Whilst there are the odd moments of melancholy, it maintains itself as charming overall with plenty of feel good notions. There are a plethora of sounds from the instrumentation that I could claim as ‘favourites’, yet the drums during the verses of Try To Keep You are exceptional to the last. It feels very Tony Thaxton (Motion City Soundtrack) like in appearance, but only serves to highlight the technical capability of its members.
Every so often, a diamond in the rough comes along; someone unknown to the rest of the world, yet they offer an amazing album for the ears to hear. Ceres have followed through on this and don’t disappoint. If you’re going to buy only one album this year, make sure that it’s this one.