The little British indie Holy Roar Records is on a pretty incredible roll right now. Already this year, the label gave us Rolo Tomassi’s Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It and Møl’s Jord, both of which made our list of the Best Albums Of 2018 So Far, as well as Svalbard’s It’s Hard To Have Hope and Conjurer’s Mire, both of which easily could have been on that list. This week, Holy Roar drops another album for people who like loud guitars with lots of distortion: The Light That Leaks In, the debut LP from Bristol-via-London quartet Modern Rituals.
Modern Rituals aren’t quite as heavy as their aforementioned labelmates — or at least, they’re not quite the same type of heavy. They’re not categorized among any hardcore- or metal-derived subgenre; they’re filed under “Alt-Rock.” However, as the band’s PR materials point out:
Don’t get this band wrong, when we say “Alt-Rock,” we mean the blisteringly heavy side of the genre with elements of sludge, much like their Boston-based counterparts Pile, but with tinges of a band who grew up listening to the Smiths and Weezer.
I can hear all that throughout The Light That Leaks In. I can also hear elements of old-school American feedback beasts like Archers Of Loaf, Silkworm, and Hum. These songs are serrated-edge amp-abusing anthems; a fog of noise shot through with melody. They’re plenty heavy.
We’re premiering The Light That Leaks In right here, right now, in advance of the album’s release this coming Friday. We’ve also got a track-by track breakdown of the LP courtesy of vocalist/guitarist Harry (no last names). Check out both below.
The Light That Leaks In track-by-track commentary:
“I Saw Them Fall”
All the songs start off written on an acoustic guitar, and we didn’t want this one to veer too far from that tone. The lyrics follow a crisis in response to following life’s more comfortable passages. These boring jobs want us for so long every week. What happens to us because of it?
“Entrail” is louder and more abrasive, but it asks similar questions. I was thinking about the energy you get from nihilism. It pushes you to reach higher in terms your quality of experience and your approach to things. If you’re miserable and you’re capable of making a change to make yourself less miserable, make that change. Don’t live apathetically, to the point where your pleasure exists in the moaning itself; get up and do something different.
If you’ve chosen to live away from convention, and deemed that convention to be mundane — are you hiding? Have you chosen a path more in touch with your nature, or are you just living in rejection of other people? I suppose this is about living in a way that cuts you off from other people.
I was working as a landscaper, which I was pretty terrible at, when I was writing this. I’m skinny, weak and find it hard to chat to, and tolerate the company of, the same people all day. We were building a tall fence in this rich guy’s garden. He was very protective of his property and treated us, the people who he had hired to improve it, with disdain. How do you find your personal limits and reflect on your character’s shape, when you care so much about the particular physical space that surrounds it?
We wanted this track to build from quiet to loud in a straight line from start to finish. It’s about an orator who has no one interested in what he has to say. He carries on doing his thing regardless. He’s so certain that what he’s saying makes sense above all else that he carries on, even when everyone else is missing.
“A Guide for the Sick”
There’s an angst that you have in your late teens or early twenties that makes you uncomfortable, and drives you to create and discover. You’re not properly informed, but that ignorance makes you say more and do more because you haven’t discovered the limits that paralyse you yet. “A Guide for the Sick” is about being scared of losing that drive.
Your grandparents are all long dead, and you don’t feel like you appreciated them enough while they were there. Your parents get to a ripe old age, and your family dog is dying and in pain all day. You see them rarely, so they change a bit more each time. It’s depressing, but it draws you closer in a necessary sort of way.
It’s hard to see an old relative lose their other half. Their prospects become quite bleak, and they’re going to spend their remaining days alone. In a way it gives some light to death, because when it comes they get away from all that.
We’ve got this fast-paced culture that is all about growth; the new, the idea that we can make things better, strengthen an economy, advance technology, make life longer etc. It seems like it’s rinsing us dry, and I wish it would slow down. We’ve got things pretty good here, why can’t we do more with our culture to inform and spiritually enrich people?
I don’t really know what to say on this, except that it was really nice to do a straightforward acoustic song.
We wrote “Muttering” a long time ago. It’s been with us through three different guitarists. I love what Heff (guitarist) brought to this, he made it feel complete. The nature of this song let us experiment with strings and pushing the outro as far as we could.
Lyrically I can’t sum it up too much more than I can the rest of the record; be weird and pursue your weird ideas even if no one else thinks they’re worthwhile. Just believe in what you believe in and go for it, because life’s too short not to.
The Light That Leaks In is out 6/22 via Holy Roar. Pre-order it here.