It’s been seven years since Envy on the Coast last released music.
Now, the Long Island Post-Hardcore band is back with their gripping EP, Ritual. Envy on the Coast delivers a new take on the fervent flair and personality that left us hungry in 2010.
Ritual is simplicity done exceptionally.
Right off the bat, the first song “Manic State Park” wraps the listener up in an effortlessly cool hook. The hook hops over to a sugary folk refrain and hops straight back to a simple, powerful repetition. Different instrumental elements teasing in and out of the lines play cat and mouse in the song. The end result is an unbelievably catchy song dripping with personality, contained in two alternating licks and a pulse-pounding refrain.
I can’t help but attribute part of the magic to vocalist Ryan Hunter’s showstopping vocal presence. Hunter takes seductive vocal articulation in the verses and nails it together with towering bad-boy flair in the choruses. The same kind of distnctive style Hunter played with in 1st Vows is here to stay in Ritual. “Manic State Park” is the catchiest. “Lioness” brings a sultry croon with a killer chorus and a surprising bit of vocal grit. Countless pockets of Hunter’s blistering vocal personality are abundant and apparent throughout Ritual.
To be honest, I don’t think Ritual would work half as well if the instrumentation was complex.
The kick-snare percussion rhythms, early 00’s rock style guitar riffs, and slow burning instrumentation make a listener linger on every note. After a few listens, Ritual’s lean-back tempo is spellbinding. My favorite example of this is on “Virginia Girls” – the percussion rolls slow like a long drive and the synth sounds like it’s looking for trouble. It reminds me completely of Gorillaz’ classic “Clint Eastwood”.
They’ve got their ballad in the titanic closer, “Sift”. We’ve got an almost flamboyant kick to “Manic State Park” that rings with something like a souther drawl. “Inhaler” reminds me of a cross between Gatsby’s American Dream and Alice in Chains.
“How to Make a Man / Grenade” sounds like the quintessential shade of high-energy rock that Ritual intends to show us. At first, it sounds like a scene from Mission Impossible. The percussion comes in hard, the guitar starts flanging, and we get propelled by Hunter’s iconic style into a chorus that screams, “We Rock.”
I will admit, I feel as though the ending of HtMaM/G takes a little more time than I’d like to reach the end. Even though I think it lingers a few seconds more than it should, it’s a very crisp and satisfying end. It may be my only immediate qualm of the album.
You can see Ritual for both the forest and the trees.
Envy on the Coast gives a take on a multitude of the flavours of rock. Simplicity’s the name of the game and Ritual takes a victory lap before the end of the first song. It covers so many different bases of authentic rock sound. Heavy, sultry, sexy and energetic are but a few of the styles under Ritual’s dominion.
The way musicality, vocals and lyrics meld together to portray such a deliciously specific vignette, I can only think of these parting words for Envy on the Coast’s masterful new piece of simplicity.
We missed you.