The Ruby Suns: Fight Softly

The Ruby Suns
Fight Softly
(Sub Pop Records)

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The Ruby Suns are a band from New Zealand, consisting primarily of Ryan McPhun, who got his start playing with the indie band The Brunettes, eventually forming his own band, Ryan McPhun and The Ruby Suns. By the band’s second album Sea Lion, their title was shortened to The Ruby Suns, and they began gaining fans in New Zealand, Australia and the UK by touring with bands like Field Music and The Shins.

Fight Softly is the band’s third album, and it rings of 80s pop, minus the low-fi sound quality, while the band itself is in the same vein as Neon Indian or Blind Man’s Colour, with McPhun’s vocals reminiscent of Grizzly Bear’s Edward Droste.

Immediately, the band’s opening tracks got my attention, but it was hard to decipher something truly unique about Fight Softly until midway through, on the ethereal “Closet Astrologer.” Still, the only other tracks that seemed to deliver were “Two Humans,” which could easily be straight off the Pretty in Pink soundtrack if it didn’t sound so technologically advanced, and the closing “Olympics on Pot,” which, let’s just say, has an appropriate title.

Still, while the album has its moments of electro/digital/synth bliss, and one can both dance and mellow out to this music, it seems to be lacking a backbone in melody. None of the tracks are particularly memorable, even after a few listens, and perhaps the only way these songs can be let loose is in a live setting, where an audience can literally feel the pulsing beats.

The Ruby Suns have several upcoming shows internationally. Check them out on their MySpace or on their website.

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