On their latest release, Ritual, Cellarghost stand tall in performance and composition.
For their latest release, Fredericton rock quartet Cellarghost made a conscious decision to lead things in a different direction. In 2016 the band released their debut full-length, In The Whiteout, an impressive project that took over a year to complete and proved to be a substantial investment in both time and money. This time around, they wanted to try a new, simpler approach to sharing music.
Fueled in part by a sense of urgency and a revised creative process, the band chose to handle much of the recording on their own. Outside of tracking drums with engineer Chris MacLean and All in the Mind Studios, all other tracking including a performance by guest cellist Emily Kennedy was handled by members of the band.
“We learned a lot by being in the studio with Brad [Perry] and Evan [Hansen],” said Cellarghost vocalist and guitarist Carter Boyle. “They are incredibly good at what they do and In The Whiteout is proof of that. But for this EP, we wanted to try doing it ourselves just to see if we could.”
On Ritual, the group’s overall confidence stands tall in both performance and composition. The EP opens with the title track, a cleverly arranged song in 7/8 rhythm that moves with all the comfort and flow commonly associated with a standard ‘4 on the floor’ structure. And that’s really the magic that makes this release unique – the band’s ability to take otherwise uncomfortable rhythms, more prominent in European folk music, and fit them into a familiar context. Three of the five tracks on Ritual follow this approach and prove a fine fit to the band’s dreamy rock delivery.
“We just wanted to do things differently,” said Boyle. “Everyone contributed to the writing this time and we’re really pleased with how it turned out.”
Choosing to release the EP strictly as a digital download, the band worked with local artist Graeme Kennedy to create a unique physical format for the project.
“The merch that we’re doing for this release is a little different,” said drummer Charles Harding. “We’ve put together hand-made lyric zines that contain a bunch of different pieces of art that Graeme Kennedy did for the release. They include the original cover art, but also some of the variations he did as well, plus all the lyrics, typewritten.
“We need to also give credit to Blake Creamer who did all the photography and developed it in a DIY darkroom in his apartment,” said Harding.
Ritual was released February 25, 2017 and is available online as a pay-what-you-wish download.
“I’d rather people just have a chance to listen to it,” said Boyle. “There’s so little money in digital downloads for us, I’d rather we just get our music out so people can hear it.”