Ruby Suns – Fight Softly

January 01, 1970




obvious now that on this, the third record by this New Zealand band (essentially the
work of one man, an American) leader Ryan McPhun does not want to be pigeonholed
by anyone. While the debut record sounded like Pet Sounds recorded underwater and 2007’s Sea Lion, his first for the Sub Pop label, emphasized the island
sounds of McPhun’s current home, on record number three, he goes in an
altogether different direction. Also, while the other two records had some
other musicians helping out, McPhun wrote and performed Fight Softly all by
himself. (McPhun previously performed with the Brunettes; his former bandmate,
James Milne, recently issued his own post-Brunettes project, Lawrence Arabia,
which is reviewed at BLURT here.)


“Sun Lake Rinsed’ sets the tone for most of the record with crooked synth work
and beats you can chew on while the stuttering “Cinco” is all swirling loops
and shuffled beats which create a dizzying effect. “Cranberry” begins the same
way but then sifts into a melodic gem by the song’s second half. On “Closet
Astrologer” and “How Kids Fail” McPhun goes a bit too far out into left field
and loses the ball in the bleachers while “Dusty Fruit” again, begins in a
confused haze but emerges a winner with outstretched arms and a round of
applause. At this point I’m torn between wanting McPhun to settle on one style
of music and enjoying the bumpy ride of each of his records and one can only
guess what record number four will offer.


Standout Tracks: “Sun Lake
Rinsed”, “Dusty Fruit”, “Cinco” TIM HINELY






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