The Ruby Suns - Fight Softly

Written by Big Smile Staff

Posted Aug 31, 2010, by Michelle Bettencourt.

Featured Artists: Animal Collective, The Postal Service; Genre: Electronica;

By now, we are used to the mix and blend of rock, pop, hip-hop, and techno that have been the token of bands like The Postal Service, Miike Snow, and Phoenix. This type of danceable, electro-pop is bBACK END and expected, however, that does not mean it cannot be fresh and enjoyable. The Ruby Suns have emerged all the way from New Zealand and made their way to Sub-Pop Records, the staple and powerhouse of this type of music, to ensure that they get their two cents in. In their case, those pennies add up to be a developed and solid album.

“Fight Softly” is thicker and more concrete, than their previous album, “Sea Lion.” “Fight Softly” is filled with bouncy rhythms, clanking drum beats, and an abundance of synthesizers. Lead singer Ryan McPhun’s voice is calming, yet prominent and languid. His voice seems to drift and float along as if he is being carried by the beats and music. The lyrics are sometimes puzzling and drifting. In that way, they go with the music in that the lyrics are carried by the music. McPhun’s voice is pleasant and good, but the album is noteworthy because of the music and the blend of styles.

The album is assembled nicely; the tracks flow together and provide shifts and changes just when needed. Mingus and Pike is a mid- tempo song with a lot of start and stops. The backing beats are head bobbing and addicting. They seem to be the perfect and simplistic beat to carry the tune. Cinco, the following song, picks up. There are many altered transitions and well-balanced instrumentation that help the song stand out. Cranberry is clearly the stand- out of the album. The lengthy intro into the song is a nice tease for what is to come. The bouncing beats and airy vocals are the perfect complement to the commanding and addicting chorus. Haunted House is encompassed by clanging and clashing beats. The electronics and the synthesizers are prominent and rise and fall with McPhun’s drifting and pinching voice. The songs on this album sway and flow to give the listener a nice variety.

“Fight Softly” isn’t necessarily inventive or the first of its kind, but it is a master of its craft. The Ruby Suns have delivered a fun and refreshing album that fans of Animal Collective and The Postal Service will easily enjoy. It is a vast improvement from “Sea Lion” lyrically, vocally, and instrumentally. McPhun and the other members are finding their craft and finding what works. I am excited to see when they locate and develop their niche in the music world.



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