sort as: ritual / no escape out of time

English quartet R I T U A L -- Adam Midgley, Gerard O'Connell, Tommy Baxter, plus Mononoke -- released No Escape Out of Time last Friday and I cannot stop hearing it in the back of my head.

It's not unlike when I was first introduced to their music by Aaron Axelsen in San Francisco, before Club cheval's set at MEZZANINE last summer. I rarely give a second thought to songs I don't recognize when spun by a DJ or between sets, unless I'm triggered by a memory of the same song heard previously in another set or set change playlist (and then my first thought is, "oh I guess this song/beat is popular"), but I found "Josephine" and From the City to the Wilderness online three days later, by looking up its beat but melodically uplifting title lyric: "Josephine / I'll never be good enough."

The September 29 release is just as hauntingly relatable with a sort of noir sophistication meant for a slow motion capture. (Short film director Jackson Ducasse capitalizes on this viscousness.) It also introduces "Hotel Bars", the youngest and only track not released prior to the full collection, alongside a version of "Drown the Lovers" that features a verse and chorus vocals from Atlanta rapper 6LACK.

The English quartet ring in strong on lyrics and form, giving the PBR&B style popularized six years ago by The Weeknd and his contemporaries a welcome revamp. If you're all about sad songs in the club, vocal harmonies, and sombrely reflecting on the state of everything right now, there's no escaping this.