Thursday, April 20, 2017

R. Ring

Ignite The Rest

It’s funny how things work out. I get to see two favorite bands in one week. It will be my first time ever seeing The New Pornographers. R.Ring is the other band I’m seeing, on Monday. TNP is that Thursday.

Since I already waxed thrilled on TNP in my review of their album, I wanted to do the same for R.Ring, since their album is just as great, in its own way. Two very different types of music, so there’s no comparison. To do further justice, it’s track by track for R. Ring. Full disclosure: I own all their singles, their Daytrotter session, and the Rise EP. Most of what’s on this album is more or less untouched from the original versions, not that I would’ve indulged in which is the better version. It’s all good.

Kelley Deal sings the songs, unless otherwise noted.

Cutter: It’s the single, and sounds like one, with extra guitars from the original. First up like this, it's a good lead in, and I'm really happy that it's getting some airplay.

Loud Underneath: When I first heard this in 2015, one thing I liked about it was that it was sly fun about finding a good guy to get loud underneath with. But the serious meaning is the moment of truth--finding love, sex, or not--and here it’s a good one. I also like the buzzsaw guitars.

Singing Tower: This is one of Mike Montgomery’s songs. It’s about an uncle of his. Sad, quiet, understated and wonderful. Mike’s songs on this album tend to be surreal and dreamy; Kelley’s are more straightforward.

$100 Heat: Kelley writes some very good songs about heartbreak and loneliness, and this is one of them. I’d like to think the Bandit did go away. Spare guitars for the right touch.

Unwinds: As angry as Cutter, and rougher. Thankfully the album includes lyrics, as I never was able to make out many of the words. And I like these words, and the booming drums.

Files: One of a few songs about darkness, losing everything, and so on. One line says it all, well sung, too. "All I set aside. All I lost. Files."

Salt: I like the grinding guitars, and that it’s not a sad breakup song. She’s free, and it suits her.

Fallout And Fire: Three lines that say more about loneliness, heartbreak, and wanting something, anything to happen, than some whole albums I’ve heard. The music is bittersweet folk rock.

Elder Orphans In Heavy Chop (AKA Rumine from the Rise EP). Very interesting lyrics, with echoing guitars. "I am cruel, I don't care. You could be my harbor wife If I could cut your hair. "

This was always my fave song from the EP, retitled here.

You Will Be Buried Here: The most folklike of these songs, and a good way to honor the dead.

Steam: Mike sings this one, sad and warm. Kelley’s backing vocals, with echo, sound like a voice rising from steam. It’s cool. A friend consoles a friend about his wife leaving him and going home to Germany. My take, anyway. Kelley and Mike have some good podcasts out, where they explain things, like this song.

SEE: The most surreal song on the album, and the closer. Mike again, singing on a rave-up.

For me, an early contender for album of the year, just as much as TNP. And I’d like to think that R.Ring could suddenly get as popular as TNP did. So give this album a try. I think you'll love it.

Andrea Weiss

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