The sound rendered by Traitrs and refined by producer Josh Korody is spot on. The music is grand and powerful while maintaining intimacy and cleanliness.
Tied to the gallows, eerily alone awaiting execution atop a stony hill which overlooks the foggy city, you start to hear a noise swelling from the dimly lit streets. ‘An ensuing riot,’ you think at first, but the sound is neither angry nor completely human. Rather you wonder, ‘a mating call of the vampires?’ but the sound is far too enticing to be vampirical. As the fuzzy synths and urgent drums reach the surface it becomes clear that this post-punk fantasy which the cold breeze has carried to you comes from one source and one source alone: Traitrs. If the imagery seems appropriate, it’s no coincidence, given that Shawn Tucker of the Toronto duo (Sean-Patrick Nolan is the other member) wrote the lyrics to the seven song EP while recovering from broken ribs under heavy sedatives, filling his time with 70s occult films and Italian horror flicks.
The sound rendered by Traitrs and refined by producer Josh Korody is spot on. The music is grand and powerful while maintaining intimacy and cleanliness. This is achieved through an attention to detail that does not go unnoticed, like the exciting stereo divide of “Gallows Hill” or the depth of the floor tom in “Savior.” Rites and Ritual ends up sounding like a cousin of The Cure’s Pornography, only more contemporary and expansive. As far as modern acts go, Traitrs’ sound falls somewhere in between Wolf Parade’s strangeness and The Twilight Sad’s stoicism.
The “occult madness, sacrifices, purity, piety, witchcraft, mid-century religion, ghosts and death” (Tucker) woven into the cold wave post-punk of Rites and Ritual makes for a wonderfully strange and creative EP. The band’s occult-fetishes set them apart from others in ways similar to Crystal Castles or Ryan Gosling’s lovably freakish Dead Man’s Bones. The vocals, production, instrumentation, and overall image of Rites and Ritual work together spectacularly to bring this wild monster to life.
Rites and Ritual is out 24th June on Pleasance Records, but Traitr have premiered the EP’s opener “Witch Trials” on Noisey which can be streamed here.