The Ritualists – Painted People

Rating: 3.5/5
Distributor/label URL: Out of Line Music
Released: 2019
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Band Line-up

Christian Dryden – lyricist, multiple instruments
(other members unlisted)


1. Rattles 4:37
2. Ice Flower 4:31
3. Worthiest One 3:59
4. She’s the Sun 4:28
5. Starry Night 4:10
6. I’m with the Painted People 4:01
7. Over the Lie 3:57
8. Darling 4:51
9. True Dictator 4:43
10. Sunset 4:18



The Ritualists from New York City try to recapture the days of old following in the footsteps of glam, art gothic rock legends such as David Bowie, Velvet Underground, Placebo and Suede. Though does this band have what it takes to make their own footprint in the musical world with their debut album, Painted People? This rock outfit created by Christian Dryden looks straight out of the 80s and 90s.

They aim to create post-psychedelic, melancholic and catchy post-punk melodies. I hear something more like 80s and early 90s but with sounds more reminiscent of The Smiths and The Cure as well as U2.

I absolutely love David Bowie and post-punk, but as I began to listen to this album the music and instrumental parts were there, yes, but the vocals were distracting. I felt like it was a post-punk band but the singer sounded a bit like Chris Martin of Coldplay. In fact, ‘Ice Flower’ put me more in mind of 90s rock groups like the aforementioned Coldplay and other bands like Muse. ‘Worthiest One’ has some of the classic 70s post-psychedelic rock sounds and ‘She’s the Sun’ opens with a groovy bass line and oriental melody. The vocal reverb adds a haunting melancholic touch.

‘I’m with the Painted People’ is a biographical track written about Christian Dryden’s experiences in the Lower East Side of New York finding his inspiration and expressing his kinship with artistic, outside the box people. A song he dedicates to the people of New York, it was the strongest and most memorable track of the album.

With their mash up of multi-generational periods of rock, catchy hooks, post-punk synths they have a solid foundation but I was not fully feeling it. The overall production was skilfully crafted. The mastering and quality of the album was well done. The musicians were cohesive and for a debut album this is quite good. I just was not getting into it like I thought I would. It’s not as dark and melancholic as I would have hoped for a band striving for the poetic romance of the eras that defined these sounds. I give them a rating of 3.5 out of 5. I do recommend you give them a listen.


Review by

Cathrine Wendt