SPICE: Self-titled: CD/LP

Bands and musicians are allowed to change in their styles and sound. Progression is a good thing and often times welcome. Still, I can’t help but stand in wonder at the evolution of Ross Farrar, the vocalist of Ceremony. Seeing them play in a crowded and steamy Elks hall a decade ago, it’s weird to hear where they are now. Not that their new material is bad, but I wonder why they just didn’t change their name. That said, Farrar has a new project, Spice, with Ceremony drummer Jake Casarotti and a few other folks, which sounds more in line with what Ceremony is doing nowadays. It’s more indie rock and post-punk, with a little influence from The Horrors and Fugazi. There are a number of great hooks with catchy songs. The twenty-six minutes of music on these nine songs run that line between being indie pop and hardcore. There are a few elements of each but it’s very palatable and inoffensive. I miss the intensity of what Farrar used to bring to his band’s sound and their performances. Frankly, I think their newer stuff just isn’t up to snuff. Spice, however, while a dumb name for a band, is that perfect mix and seems like a nice bridge between old and new Ceremony. –Kurt Morris (daisrecords.com)