Music has a way of masking itself sometimes, of tricking you into believing a mood is dancy and bright when the actual content of a song is anything but. Broolyn-by-way-of-California duo Courtship Ritual creates an air, a world of night beats and infectious bass parts, the likes of which fit right in on any fog-filled dance floor after 11 on a Thursday night. But when you listen—I mean really listen, to lyrics, synthesizers, the urgent undertones of everything—you get a sense of their proclivity for the dark and mad. Chary, the sophomore EP that just dropped on Godmode, is laden with the smiling darkness of mildly downer dance music. Opener “Down Low” immediately introduces their well-oiled, 80’s-infused machine of thick kickdrum and buoyant bass line, like a child’s toy glider experiencing calculated turbulence. It’s ridiculously catchy to get your attention, and then once it has you, its weighty message is already under your skin. Attitudes sort of shift at the halfway point, the track “28,” and the underlying austerity is unveiled and the rest of the EP plays out as though your overpopulated club floor is suddenly the loneliest place on earth. “Haunting” now seems now to replace “catchy,” as closer “Gris Gris” asks, perfectly timed, “How long can we go?” Introspection has never been so inviting.
Stream Chary here: