Today, we have a Ceremony Of Leaving, an exceptional 12″ extended play release by Former Lives. Of course, it’s one of the latest arrivals to our headquarters from the box sent by Snappy Little Numbers, a prolific record label based in Denver, Colorado. As far as I am informed, the Ceremony Of Leaving is a debut by Former Lives, but it sounds so far away from the debut. At first, I thought it was their fourth or fifth release because of the ideas and musicianship involved in each composition. It’s good to mention that Former Live is a project of Sean Joseph Klassen, who gradually included experienced musicians such as Stuart Saltzman (Menomena, Typhoon, Grails), singer/songwriter Sabrina Velazquez Summers (Montclaire), and vocalists Madison Fenton, Charles Ava, and Sarah Royal (D’est Roy).
It’s been a while since I heard anything close to the Ceremony Of Leaving. I can’t deny there aren’t any good new wave bands out there, but they’re not even close to the brilliance of Former Lives. Someone would say this material comes closer to post-punk than new wave, and you won’t be wrong. However, there’s something about how Former Lives articulate throughout their songs that resembles much more of the eighties new wave than post-punk sound. The band excluded that depressive, gothy, dark ambiance that usually decorates post-punk releases and included a healthy dosage of cheerful melodies, harmonies, arpeggiated sequences, keys, synths, beats, and other sonic delicacies. Their music isn’t overly joyful but just enough to force you to dance along with it.
Besides the sheer dominance of new wave and post-punk, you’ll notice other elements such as synth-pop, dream-pop, indie-pop, and indie rock. Thankfully, all these subgenres of pop music work quite well to the advantage of this release, so this material doesn’t have any bad moments. I adore how Former Lives thoroughly planned each composition to the max, although it doesn’t seem that way. The entire Ceremony Of Leaving has a constant flow, but you can notice complex structures beneath all those ear-appealing melodies, harmonies, and ambiances. Maybe Ceremony Of Leaving carries that retro, eighties new wave/post-punk ambiance, but this material could fit perfectly with the fans of contemporary synth, indie, and vaporwave music. These compositions perfectly fit any mood, occasion, or moment you’re currently in, mainly because Ceremony Of Leaving is easy-listening material with a beautiful, relaxing, soothing, cathartic ambiance.
Ceremony Of Leaving comes with a set of beautiful digital artworks housed in a thick cardboard sleeve. Each sheet carries one piece of art, while the back includes the lyrics for the particular songs. Former Lives and Snappy Little Numbers thought about everything, and Ceremony Of Leaving is one of those releases you will dearly display on your record shelf. Head to Snappy Little Numbers for more information about ordering.