The new, self-titled album from Rips, out today on Faux Discx, is a fine example of modern indie-pop successfully mining the past for inspiration. That so much of this record from the Brooklyn act sounds like one from a NYC band from the Seventies should be seen as a good thing, after all.
"Malibu Entropy" blends a nice Television-style vibe with some guitar-lines that echo those of the acts of a generation later (The Bongos, Sonic Youth), while "Break" is a serviceable number that sounds a tiny bit like a more refined version of recent Twin Peaks offerings. Elsewhere, the rougher "Damaged" shines with the sort of spark missing from a lot of what passes for American indie these days, while the bright "Vs" recalls the sort of fine alt-rock found on early releases from EZTV. On the near-epic "Psychics", Rips try to broaden their sound a bit, some nice effects jutting up against vocals and a main riff that both nod in the direction of Thurston Moore stuff, while closing track "Spell" adds a faint trace of angular post-punk in the manner of Joy Division to the sound being cultivated by Rips here.
If Rips by Rips is not entirely original, it is fresh. There's a lot of enthusiasm here and that makes up for the fact that so many of the hooks do feel familiar. Still, they feel familiar in a good way. If the compositions of Rips are not quite (yet) as memorable as the tunes of the bands who've so obviously inspired this crew (Pavement, The Feelies, Television, Richard Hell and the Voidoids), nor the rough-edged equals of cuts from producer Austin Brown's Parquet Courts, the tracks here on Rips are certainly moving in a similar direction. Rips by Rips is a modest, thoroughly enjoyable record that I recommend quite a bit.
[Photo: Dan Abary]