Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Ruby Suns Deliver A Sleek Electro-Pop Record: A Review Of Christopher

There's no shame in sounding like O.M.D. None at all.

Before John Hughes sort of hijacked that band for his own devices, O.M.D. were a band who -- along with John Foxx, Gary Numan, and New Order -- made thoughtful and soulful electronic pop of the highest caliber. Erring on the side of tunefulness, they still managed to take some experimental risks.

Which brings us to The Ruby Suns who are doing the same sort of thing in 2013. The New Zealand band are back with Christopher, out on January 28 on Memphis Industries in Europe and January 29 on Sub Pop in America.

So when I start to say that this record sounds like O.M.D., I mean that as the highest compliment. The Ruby Suns are creating lush electronic soundscapes full of melody and hooks. They, unlike some others doing this sort of thing, have their hearts in the right place. This is no revival act.

The sheets of keyboard noise mixed with the near-New Romantic crooning on "In Real Life" give you a good idea of the strengths of this band.

"Kingfisher Call Me" stretches things out and makes use of a wide cinematic sound while "Rush" recalls Prefab Sprout's "Cruel" in the best possible way.

"Boy" updates the template of The Associates for the 21st century while "Futon Fortress" recalls Japan without the thumping Mick Karn bass.

All said, Christopher is a fairly consistent record. If the songs sound a bit the same over time, that's okay as that sound is a nice one. The record charms.

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