Andrea Caccese, the man behind the project Dead Rituals, admits that during the pandemic he felt lucky to have a small studio to retreat to. While most of us were CBD’ing ourselves to sleep, he was drinking coffee and carefully crafting one of the most unassuming EP’s of the year, “Dead Rituals II.”

His combination of live instruments and electronic elements within an alternative rock concept draws some comparisons to the late 90s band, Doves. The album hits hard and tight. The first song, “Broken Memories,” sets the record straight from the start. This is not bedroom pop, this is high energy indie rock with amps cranked to 11. The drummer hits hard over a driving bass, while a Johnny Marr-style chorus guitar tone and Andrea’s signature smoky voice add texture. The song ends with a post-rock style instrumental section.  

In his Spotify bio, Andrea describes Dead Rituals as being a mix of punk, shoe gaze, and dream pop. This is most evident in his song, “When The Lights Are Out.” It’s reminiscent of some modern indie artists who draw from the same genre influences. The shimmering Kurt Vile-style amped acoustic guitar sparkles throughout the track. Andrea’s wonderful use of atmosphere and ambience fills the space in an otherwise sparse arrangement.  

Andrea is a good songwriter, but it’s really the production that shines most on this EP. The record is incredibly well balanced and crisp despite a heavy use of reverb and delay effects. It bridges the sensibilities of underground indie rock and its more commercial cousins.  

Dead Rituals appears to only exist as Andrea’s recording project, but hopefully he can get a group to back him as the music is ripe for 600-cap-clubs. Checkout “Dead Rituals II,” and hear “When the Lights are out,” featured now in our Best New Indie playlist

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