Ceres
We Are A Team


3.2
good

Review

by Jared P. STAFF
April 28th, 2019 | 61 replies


Release Date: 04/26/2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I, You, We

Ceres was my favorite discovery of this past January. Here was an Australian emotional rock band that had seemingly came out of nowhere back in 2012, and nowhere in truth really, since they haven’t ever been a band to follow social media marketing trends and the like to explicitly showboat themselves or their music. Instead they climbed to relative attention in their local scene in Melbourne by playing the small shows when they started out and slowly built up from there. Making and fine-tuning their songs on the road and on stage gave birth eventually to the absolutely fantastic 2014 debut LP, I Don’t Want To Be Anywhere But Here, and then following it later in 2016, the also quite good yet spotty Drag It Down On You.

What’s so great about these guys up to this point is centered in mustache-champion, singer/lyricist Tom Lanyon. This guy carries the perfect vocal style and range for the realm of emotional rock, capable of lulling with a soft whisper-y style of singing before all the sudden jumping to the opposite end of the spectrum and howling to the heavens in the same song. “Jam Song” from the debut album does just this, and it still stands as my favorite Ceres song for the way it effortlessly coveys an emotion of indecisiveness complete with an epic build up in a mere two-and-a-half minutes.

What started to happen on Don’t Drag It Down On You, however, gave me the feeling that the band were beginning to run out of ideas, or at the very least were writing songs and weren’t being able to complete them in a way that came across as natural when compared to the emotional conjurations of the debut. Opener “Okay”, “Us”, and “Loner Blood” are all evidence of this, being mostly incomplete portraits of Lanyon’s feelings—the first song actually ends abruptly for no reason, which is a horrible way to open an album, honestly. Still, that album carried the likes of “91, Your House”, live-favorite “Choke”, “Del-Del”, and the fantastic closer “Baby’s Breath”, so it wasn’t like the Ceres that had created the debut didn’t exist anymore; the well for their inspirations just seemed to be running a bit dry is all.

Now on the new We Are A Team, that creative well for Ceres and Lanyon is completely dry.

But in a way that’s okay, though, because Ceres have gotten the most out of all that remained. Lanyon himself seems to indicate this in his recent interview with Chorus FM: “This record is everything we had [. . .] a part of me thinks this might be the last record we’ll ever do.” The idea going into this record is that Lanyon has found love in his personal life, and having found it, the band’s music has changed, both in its level of intensity, and obviously in the way it feels, being much less aggressive. The three per-release singles gave evidence of this fact, and I and many fans were quick to worry about the rest of We Are A Team, as initially it sounded like Ceres not being Ceres.

No need to worry, though, as, yes, Lanyon is happier, but We Are A Team still largely sounds like a Ceres album; and while different and possibly the last they write, it is at least a viable effort. Like “Okay” before it on their previous album, “Marriage” kicks this off with a song about proposing. “I’m gonna get happy,” Lanyon begins. “I’m gonna tell them it was all for you.” Here, Lanyon’s partner is introduced as the song’s lyrical subject, and she will return for a large part of We Are A Team as his main inspiration. The song has quickly become a favorite, with what sounds like a female back up singer in the songs anthemic, catchy closing refrain: “I’d ask you to marry me, but you’d say no.”

Elsewhere “Dancing Patterns” with its highlight of similarly dancing guitar leads invokes more images of Lanyon’s pursuit of marriage: “Picture me on a cliff’s edge, and I’ll dream of you in your wedding dress. I wanna die a happy man.” The singer has publicly stated that his partner actually doesn’t want to get married, yet all the same he chases after the idea of it for the sake of love. Some of the record finds him dealing with his remaining insecurities, however, many of which fueled his aggression and negativity in past albums. These instances are where the record is at its strongest, probably due to the fact that it reminds me of Ceres at their peak. “Stay Awake” is one such song, with its quiet beginning that then evolves into We Are A Team’s heaviest moment, and “I Feel Better Outside” captures the unease about the quality of oneself when falling in love. At almost six minutes, it’s the album’s longest song, but it never feels tiring, highlighted again by a yearning refrain.

The album could do without “Water The Garden,” the pre-release singles—except “Viv In The Front Seat”, perhaps—and the sappy acoustic closer, “Something Good,” however. These are instances where the songwriting is stale and remind me that We Are A Team could and likely should be the band’s swan song. “Water the Garden” has a weak hook and makes little sense lyrically, and both “Me & You” and “Kiss Me Crying” are where Lanyon pours the saccharine-sweetness of his new feelings on a little too thick. These cuts don’t exactly sound like Ceres songs, mainly because they aren’t that good, sadly yes, and Lanyon also seems to have forgotten what the band’s fans enjoy here. “Collarbone, 2011”, however, is a different story, being rebuilt from both a song from an early EP and “Upwey, Tacoma, Belgrave” from the band’s debut album. The song is pure fan service, and I appreciate the band placing it on here as it serves as a way for fans to look back on the band and to be thankful for their work. If We Are A Team is goodbye, it’s fitting at its strongest, and in all other places, it is at least a happy one to go out on. Best wishes and good luck, guys. Thanks.



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user ratings (27)
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Slex
Contributing Reviewer
April 28th 2019


8841 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Almost done with my review and you are wrong



Great writing as always tho

Digging: Vi Som Alskade Varandra Sa Mycket - Det Onda. Det Goda. Det Vackra. Det Fula.

Observer
Staff Reviewer
April 28th 2019


7363 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2

cheers



make it so

Digging: Handsome - Handsome

Slex
Contributing Reviewer
April 28th 2019


8841 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is my favorite album of theirs

The concept really helps their consistency and all these songs are so touching both because of what came before and because the simplicity strengthens the sentiment



I just love this damn album dearly

dmathias52
April 28th 2019


1081 Comments


Been meaning to check these guys out for a while and had no idea they had a new one coming out. Gonna start with this and work my way back, mainly cause I already listened to “Marriage” and it’s stunning.

Slex
Contributing Reviewer
April 28th 2019


8841 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Marriage is unreal, first 2 songs here are the best imo

schoonda
April 28th 2019


1714 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Damn slex slapping a big 4.5 on this!

I agree with you Jared, this does lack a bit of what made their two previous records so fantastic. It's far more polished (to its detriment I'd argue) and the lack of hooks (Kiss me crying being the worst offender) really hurts the record. Pretty accurate rating I'd say

keza
April 28th 2019


487 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I think water the garden is about self care/ spending time on self improvement? Good read but wish you liked this thing as much as I do. This album is different but such a good note for them to leave on if they do quit

Observer
Staff Reviewer
April 28th 2019


7363 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2

from what i read about the song, its actually something literal he would do for his mom while getting to know his partner, and that actually bothered me because i found the concept pretty dumb for a song honestly. Just doesnt really make sense to write a song about it.



and yeah, i wish i did like this a lot, as it would be a good chance for sputnik to get on this band. But i had to be honest, its just off in places for me. Glad you read though, and hopefully it doesnt deter people from the band.

keza
April 28th 2019


487 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Absolutely fair enough dude, either way these boys are underappreciated as hell even here in Melbourne and any attention for them makes me so happy. So glad you found this wonderful little band.

Observer
Staff Reviewer
April 28th 2019


7363 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2

Agree, awesome band and more should listen

Slex
Contributing Reviewer
April 28th 2019


8841 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Water The Garden is definitely the worst song



I just don't think this album is about ideas, it's a plainspoken album that thrives on feeling and it just happens to really speak to me

Observer
Staff Reviewer
April 28th 2019


7363 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2

i understand. its funny you say that because a lot of people i know irl would probably say im a bitter person when it comes to relationships, so that supposed empathy from the band in this positive hopeful way is probably lost on me. Look forward to your review, and I agree Marriage and Collarbone are great openers for this. My fav is I feel better outside overall

Slex
Contributing Reviewer
April 29th 2019


8841 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Will probably finish tomorrow because Game of Thrones



Feel Better Outside is great too, I'm glad we agree Viv is the best single

keza
April 29th 2019


487 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I actually hated viv as a single and really enjoy it in the context of the album



And I can't believe it seems like I'm the only one who adores kiss me crying and me and you, those songs are just so sweet

keza
April 29th 2019


487 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

btw Tom Lanyon absolutely IS moustache champion, I'm sure he'd wear that title with great pride

schoonda
April 29th 2019


1714 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I find the hook on kiss me crying just so bland but it has been in my head all day...hmmm

Slex
Contributing Reviewer
April 29th 2019


8841 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Kiss Me Crying is incredible, Me And You less so

keza
April 29th 2019


487 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

They both kinda remind me of the type of rock that was popular on Aussie radio through the mid-2000s...Birds of Tokyo or Eskimo Joe type music? In that they're somewhat simple (except for the intricate instrumentation on Me and You), but well-enough crafted that they're kinda inescapable



Actually very tempted to bump my rating on this now I think about it

Slex
Contributing Reviewer
April 29th 2019


8841 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album knows exactly what it wants to do and does it just about perfectly-not always the most exciting but very affecting and well crafted

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
April 29th 2019


3112 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I've never been sold on this band's songwriting, I think it's definitely their weakest atribute (apart from, sometimes, really poor production), but there's just something so charming about them -- I think, somehow, despite epitomising "Melbourne band", they've always stood among the most geniune within "the scene". I love 'Water the Garden' and (most of) the singles, so I'm expecting to like this a fair bit.



Quite a good review, too, though I wish you'd covered less, and dug deeper into what you did cover. This feels more like a tribute to the band than a review of the album. Which is good!!! I just think it would have been nicer if you'd focussed on it more as a tribute, though, and kinda used that as justification, or rationalisation for the album perhaps -- "I don't love it, but that's fine, it doesn't need to be amazing!" Regardless, well-penned.

Digging: Leonard Cohen - Thanks For The Dance



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