At its best, music is transportive. One of the singular characteristics of the genre is to weave and insinuate new worlds from the ground up. Merging with the listeners own imagination, taking us to places and spaces we’ve never been, making us want to delve further. A Ritual Sea is a band that not only plays with this tenet but revel in it. Creating a dreamlike milieu that unfolds like some lost movie at a secret midnight screening, the group’s debut pulls you into its sphere.
From the obscured textural drifting, punctuated beat and bewitching vocals of album opener, ‘Radiate’ pulls everything into a soft, hazy focus. Indeed, A Ritual Sea’s dream-pop sound compels the listener to fall further in their deftly constructed soundscapes, as every melody, harmony, and beat undulates within a distant background or upfront foreground.
A mood-driven affair, A Ritual Sea has an overarching atmosphere of abstraction that mirrors lyrical and musical expressionism. Guitars, drums and vocals all meld into one on songs like ‘Seasons (Like You)’, the slow-burn beat and pensive tone of ‘Serpentine’ and buzzsaw cacophony of ‘Violet’, all rest within the same sonic milieu whilst adding dimensions and dynamics to the record’s overall sound.
However, it’s ‘Saving Grace’ that stayed with me long after listener. A shorter offering, comparatively, the jangled, jolting backbone of the track perfectly juxtaposes the serenity of the vocals. While A Ritual Sea’s ability to contort tension and melody around one another comes to the fore all within three minutes of poised Dreamwave world-building.
And so it goes, A Ritual Sea raises soundscapes from deep atmospheric tides. All too often, albums that aim for nuanced moods and tones end up becoming engulfed by them. Their debut, A Ritual Sea, finds the right balance and never isolate the listener; instead, they compel us to follow. A the beginning of this review, I said music has the singular ability to create shared worlds between artist and audience. A Ritual Sea is one such place.