Album: The Ruby Suns, Fight Softly (Memphis Industries)
Friday 12 March 2010
On Fight Softly, The Ruby Suns leader Ryan McPhun goes it alone, writing, performing and producing these 10 songs virtually solo.
Sadly, along with his band, he's abandoned most of the elements which made their previous records such fascinating diversions. With The Ruby Suns and Sea Lion, he established the band as something akin to the New Zealand equivalent of Vampire Weekend, blending psych-pop smarts with unusual world-music influences – in the Suns' case, ranging from Kenyan guitar grooves to Polynesian folk and Brazilian tropicalia, with a substantial helping of Brian Wilson's enigmatic pop genius thrown in. But here he seems to have jettisoned the intriguing instrumental palette which once incorporated marimba, horns, ukelele, guitar, organ and sleigh bells, in favour of a stripped-down techno sound which cramps them into claustrophobic keyboard loops. The throbbing keyboard fantasia of "Sun Lake Rinsed" gives way to the itchy industrial-electro loop of "Mingus And Pike", and that in turn to the incessant twitch'n'bounce of "Cinco", but none of them has the magical appeal of earlier successes such as "Maasai Mara"and "Oh, Mojave" and "Remember", with the exception of "Dusty fruit". A disappointing change of direction.
Download this Dusty Fruit; Two Humans
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant