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The Old Ceremony

Our One Mistake

(sonaBLAST!; US: 17 Oct 2006; UK: Available as import)

Is describing a band as inimitable the highest of compliments?  Is a band that unabashedly reveals its inspiration less reputable than one whose sound emerges from a hidden source?  If influence-borrowing is the gaffe referenced in the title of The Old Ceremony’s Our One Mistake, it’s an implied blunder I’ll gladly live with.  Lead man Django Haskins does his best McCartney in “Papers in Order” over a happily unsophisticated—but terribly funky—backing track.  It’s a damnably catchy song, the type of song I’d love to hate.  The driving and Spoon-sleek “Get to Love” hammers out a piano-led tour-de-force, anthemic and melodic.  In the mildly political, lyrically Newman-esque “Poison Pen”, The Old Ceremony effortlessly co-mingles the disparate sounds of Nick Cave and Ben Folds through a goth-pop vibraphone/piano pairing.  Moving into to darker territory, “Believer” vamps a sultry vibe, then builds into a transcendent, effects-laden, organ-frenzied close.  Eastern influences inspire both the Mandarin-sung, cello-enchanted “Bao Qian” and the psychedelic and even pummeling six-minute stretch-out “Prove Me Wrong”.  Ultimately, I’m in the glorious dilemma of trying to ascertain whether I love the vibraphone, piano and keys, lyrics, or hooks the most—or perhaps just the way they all fit together.  On my tenth enjoyable listen, I determined that these sleek, catchy, and often beautiful sounds just might be inimitable after all, and that you should hear them, too – because Our One Mistake actually has very few faults.

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3 Mar 2009
Walk on Thin Air stumbles an awful lot, as Django Haskins plays the role of sensitive songwriter rather than really mining true feeling, and that just isn't enough to make this kind of middle-of-the-road rock stand out.
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