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 slyfun
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.