Formed in 2016, A Ritual Sea’s distinctive, synth-driven, shoegaze sound is heavily influenced by the esoteric imagery of Andrei Tarkovsky, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Robert Altman and Ingmar Bergman. Having featured at the renowned Other Voices Festival in 2018 and supported international acts such as Gwenno and Jane Weaver, the band played a sold-out headline show in Dublin’s Whelans venue in early 2020 and are gearing up to return to playing live shows in support of their debut album launch.
The self-titled album opens with Radiate,one of the singles released as a teaser for the album. Dreamy sounds combined with Donna McCabe's vocal create an altered reality, take your everyday life away, at least for the duration of the track. These sounds also play with the imagination and everything put together forms a lasting experience.
This is true for the entire album. Some of the tracks are more mellow, some are more upbeat yet maintain the characteristic sound. Seasons (Like You) represent the latter category, with the catchy melody, steady drumbeats and some tasty guitar riffs, there's a strange familiarity about the melody you can't put a finger on. Serpentine would fit into the same box, there's even more of the strangely familiar rhytmic element. The vocal takes us on a journey into the outer space.
Violet is the loudest (and the longest), almost rock sounding track, showcasing the band's potential. They don't limit themselves to the mellow dreamy compositions but they're also able to turn the volume up. In this case, the music overshadows the vocals at times but a track like this is a good experiment.
This debut shows the power of music that would sound good in a cathedral, in a bar, at the outdoor stage. A Ritual Sea have already created a name for themselves and with this collection they're solidifying their position and proving the dreams know no boundaries.