Saturday, 16 January 2021

Congratulations - Demo


Labels: Skeletal Lighting/Zegema Beach

Formats: Tape/Digital

Release Date: 26 Nov 2014


Tracklist: 


1. Aren't You Frightened Skinny, Scary Skeleton?

2. Stars And Lights

3. This Summer

4. Your Halo Glistens

5. Gospel


I'm taking a break from my endless inbox to chalk up another review in my Zegema Beach Records roster series. This was the first demo from short-lived Canadian screamo/indie band Congratulations. It was released in late 2014 on tape and digitally via both Skeletal Lightning Records and Zegema Beach Records, coming three years before the band's split with Swiss post-hardcore band The Rabbit Theory, which I reviewed back in 2018. This demo contains five tracks and is long sold out as far as I can tell.


Another weekend of isolation, doing jobs and jamming music due to the current situation is actually fine with me. I’m comfortable in my own company and this demo is a startlingly good accompaniment to the moment I find myself in. Opener ‘Aren’t You Frightened Skinny, Scary Skeleton?’ is just a beautiful piece of post-hardcore. It’s not overtly violent and is cinematic, with vocals that go from harsh screams to considered semi-spoken and clean. The instrumentation is very much the same, with a lot of melody and atmosphere.


‘Stars And Lights’ brings to mind bands like Interpol and very early Killers during the intro, as the melodic guitar plays a very indie-like bunch of riffs. It’s a groove-filled, danceable track that would sit alongside those bands and I Love Your Lifestyle for sure. I love it!


I’m definitely going to have to go back and spin their split with The Rabbit Theory. It’s a pit they wrote and released so few songs, but quality over quantity is welcome all the same. ‘This Summer’ is heavier than the song it follows, but only really in the verses. Congratulations had such a great dynamic on this demo and it’s a lot more polished and complete than you’d expect of a first release.


The other thing with noting about this demo is the compact song-lengths, they’re long enough for Congratulations to say what they want to say with their music but short enough not to loose impact. Penultimate song ‘Your Halo Glistens’ is a glorious ballad (of sorts) that makes me want to leave these four walls and walk around the snowy neighbourhood with it filling my ears. I might do that later on, in a safe and socially distanced manner of course!


It’s fitting then that the demo closer is a song like ‘Gospel’, which is at the other end of the spectrum, being louder and higher in tempo. Punk rhythms are joined by distant screams and both rumbling bass, and that glorious guitar tone that adds so much to the song and indeed the whole release. 


Congratulations was a band that went too soon in my opinion (though I'm not fully convinced that they aren't active anymore, perhaps someone could confirm this). This demo is perfect. I’m going to try and seek a copy out after this. If you’ve not heard this or of the band in general, then rectify that now, as you can listen and grab the demo digitally as a name-your-price download.



I was wrong when I presumed these tapes were sold out, as there appears to be copies still available from Zegema Beach Records here - http://www.zegemabeachrecords.com/zegema-beach-releases/congratulations-cassette


Skeletal Lightning Records - https://www.facebook.com/skeletallightning

Zegema Beach Records - https://www.facebook.com/zegemabeachrecords

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