I believe I’ve only said this once this year and that is, ‘sometimes, it’s hard to not write: damn great album’ and have that be the review.
That alone should sometimes be the reason you listen to an album or a band.
Like Agent Cooper in Twin Peaks sentiment about coffee.
No explanation. No lengthy opinion.
That should be enough.
Alas, Pretty Vacant One wouldn’t exist if I only wrote those two words.
So let’s deep dive into The Weekend Ritual by Adult Leisure and why I think this is one of the best EPs I’ve heard this year.
First, I know I have a bias towards the bass and the bass in The Weekend Ritual is my favourite thing about the EP. I am absolutely in love with the bass by James Laing. His playing gives each track its own distinctive vibe and feel and his underlying bass sets that tone for each track. I could write an article about just his bass playing alone.
The band says this of The Weekend Ritual,
We’ve always wanted to produce an honest and homegrown debut selection of songs which both showcases our ability as musicians, but also keeps in line with our honest grass roots style. We wanted people to hear us with no filter or 3rd party influence. In an industry where so much is insincere, we wanted to give people us and us alone.
Adult Leisure has cultivated that sincerity and lets it shine throughout The Weekend Ritual.
Kicking off the EP is “Happiness”. I’m immediately hooked by the guitar from David Woolford. His opening riff is pedal to the medal, laying the pavement for the rhythm section of Laing on bass and Nathan Searle on drums to join. The trio crank the volume to eleven and just as they shift into high gear, the bass and drum pull ahead, allowing vocalist, Neil Scott, to step into the spotlight.
Scott’s vocals are clean and sharp. As Scott sings, “…my knees are scratched from the weekend ritual…” I get a Peter Gabriel vibe from his vocals that sends chills up my spine.
The song is upbeat and the music is perfect for speeding down a dark lost highway.
I feel that “Modern Son” is a foundation song. In that it could have been the song that laid the groundwork for the band’s sound and vibe. The song is strong and trustworthy in technique and sound.
There’s also nothing not infectious about “Modern Son”. It’s catchy AF. From the beat of the drums, the rhythm of the bass and guitar, and lyrics, the song is a pure hit.
If “Happiness” was the perfect song for speeding down a dark lost highway, then this track is the montage song where the protagonist becomes the hero.
I’m always gonna have a soft spot in my heart for “Control”. It was the song that introduced me to Adult Leisure. As I previously wrote in a review for “Control”, the bass has me clutching my pearls and raising my hand to pray to the bass gods, ‘hallelujah amen’.
The band says this about the inspiration for the song,
‘Control’ focuses around an immeasurable love to which it’s clear the object of affection isn’t the wisest choice, yet still the lover is drawn ever closer, due to the overwhelming presence the recipient of their adoration has within their life. They are the drug they can’t seem to pry themselves away from. They are hell, yet they are home and this is the battle the lover is having with themselves.
I said it before and I’ll say it again, “Control” has a delectable pop chorus that is oh so sweet to the ear and soul. It infuses the groovy bass and infectious lyrics brilliantly. “Control” is easily one of the best tracks I’ve heard in 2022.
Opening with my favourite bass line of the EP, “I Don’t Want to Talk” is the tune The Beatles wanted to write to break free of that teenage “boy band” feel while keeping the screaming fans on their side. The song is an absolute jam. Laing’s bass is quiet and sultry underneath Searle’s contagious and swaggy beats. Woolford’s guitar and Scott’s vocals complete the track by adding a wonderful catchy sing song bop to it.
The last track of The Weekend Ritual was the debut track for Adult Leisure and while I may have a soft spot for “Control”, it is “Things You Don’t Know Yet” that is my favourite.
When I first listened to “Things You Don’t Know Yet”, I immediately thought of the great 80’s bands like Big Country, Tears for Fears, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD), and Simple Minds.
It’s the way Scott sings combined with the music and the epic chorus that take me back in time to when a song could feel larger than life.
With just a four piece band, “Things You Don’t Know Yet” feels larger than life. What helps is that the song gets stuck in your head and you will find yourself humming it to yourself as you walk to work.
The Weekend Ritual has easily become one of my top EPs of 2022, if not my favourite.
Adult Leisure has nailed honest, raw, and real with perfection in The Weekend Ritual.
There’s no huff or puff. Just four friends with their musical hearts on the line.
The Weekend Ritual is out 2-December, pre-save it now.