Review: The Ego Ritual - The Ego Ritual EP (released January 14, 2019)
The Ego Ritual came together, according to vocalist James Styring, when guitarist and old friend William James Ward appeared on Styring’s doorstep and said, “Let’s write some songs!” And so they did, and with Gaz Wilde joining them on drums, they recorded this, their splendid self-titled debut EP.
The EP consists of four songs of jangly, tripped out psychedelia, and one short outro piece. 60’s artists like Syd’s Pink Floyd and Tomorrow are certainly touchstones, but this is only where it begins, and what we have here is something more akin to latter day psych artists such as Robyn Hitchcock and Anton Barbeau (Styring’s vocals even remind me of Barbeau’s!), but The Ego Trip adds a certain punch not always apparent in those artist’s music, an infusion of their own energy with a sweepingly delirious sound and more of a heavier edge. It does, indeed, make for a heady and thoroughly enjoyable listen.
Chakra Maraca, the opening track, is built on a propulsive riff that glides along through some giddy and very catchy psych pop before ending on a steadily building jam, with Styring chanting the title of the song while various instruments like hand drums, horns, and sitar emerge building into a blazing wall of trippy sonic madness. Ten Points For the Red Star rocks out with Wilde providing some exciting drum fills, then suddenly there’s a spacey break 2/3’s of the way through with a mystical Middle Eastern vibe to it. Very cool! Guitarist Ward is quite adept at blending melodies inspired by the Middle and Far East in with his inventive western style rock and roll riffs, and this can be heard on the main riffs throughout Serenade The Leyline and also in the trippy, folk inspired raga Outro (which has some nice hand drumming in it too!). The 6-minute Days of Set is the showpiece of the EP, a song that lyrically seems to describe a cosmic, mythological sea journey. Phantasmagoric and fun!
The band will be playing the Fruits de Mer festival in Wales this August, a chance to catch them live if you are in the area. Whether you are or not, you should absolutely check out The Ego Ritual EP for some groovy, psychedelic power pop that will blow your mind.
For more info and to stream and purchase the EP, visit: https://theegoritual.bandcamp.com/