EP Review: Adult Leisure – The Weekend Ritual

Veterans of Bristol’s music scene, the members of Adult Leisure came together during the pandemic simply from a thirst to create music. The results are The Weekend Ritual, a tremendous debut EP that will make you move while also being undeniably moving.

From the wicked electric riffs and battering ram drums on “happiness”, you might think you’re in for a pop-melody party song. But things take a moodier turn, as vocalist Neil Scott delivers lyrics like “these are the days that it goes wrong” with a foreboding tone, and makes the chorus “Happiness goes on and on” sound almost melancholy. These juxtapositions all work extremely well, creating a song that could make you choke up while on the dance floor.

“Modern Son”‘s synthy opening may remind you of “Boys of Summer”, but the depths of the lyrics go far past that nostalgic bop, as Scott addresses ideas of nature vs nurture, and the hopes of being able to grow past your past. Lines like “To be a man is to be proud, and when you’re drowning don’t be loud” tear at the notion of machismo and manhood, and the unfair pressure it can put on the psyche. There’s a bit more pop on “Control”, with its soft “whoo hoos” and mid tempo opening, but this all builds to a huge, rocking chorus. And again, beneath the big riffs, there’s a complex narrative of a struggling relationship (“Show me how you like to control me. You tell me that you’re happy living on your own”).

The bass-lead in “I Don’t Wanna Talk”, along with the slack-rock drum beat carries a 90’s vibe, though the new wave guitars add in a dose of power. There’s a strut to the track that helps it stand-out, though the band still throws in a head banging denouement. And for the EP’s closing number, Adult Leisure turn back up the energy for the shimmering Britpop number “Things You Don’t Know Yet”. One can hear hints of Genesis in its soaring, harmonized chorus, and the swell to the final chorus is an aural catharsis.

This is one of the best debuts from a band in a long while, so be sure to listen to the full EP when it drops on December 2nd. Until then, listen to the pre-released tracks here.

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