New Zealander Ryan McPhun who basically is the Ruby Suns takes this sound and runs with it even into the sort of dark places Dirty Projectors fear to tread. The sort of clever clogs pop music that may well appeal to ambitious fans of Field Music.
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I’ll tell you exactly where I stand with this band, folks: the year was 2011 and I was trying to cop an illegal download of Sea Lion in my cramped first year bedroom. I never found a link so I repressed their existence until now. Not their fault, and the pleasure is now mine: it turns out their sun-dappled weirdo pop is more than enough to stave off the inevitable playbacks of Animal Collective’s Feels coming down the line.
On ‘Sprite Fountain’, the Ruby Suns do something I imagine they’ve been doing since their time began, which is somehow keeping wonky, melodically vetoed songs bright and full of feeling. It’s rare you can make something that sounds so off the mark also sound pulsating and moving, but an opener like “Waterslide” is that very rareness -- it doesn’t really come together until a drumbeat decides to hammer it all out at once, bringing together the chunky riffs and weird flickers into something loudly, proudly vital.
They’ve got the Beach Boys’ type of summer in their heart, by which I mean they’re afraid of how much they love the summer: their cooing harmonies on “Blankee” come with a frightened bass line, a foggy drumbeat and an almost minor downward swing. It’s a real spooky ballad. “The Zipper” is a lovely slice of crying sunshine prog, its mix of sporadic strums, short, wiry motifs and halloween baroque making for a medley-like song, something that never really lands in one place but wanders about for different solutions.
I kinda have a soft spot for bands that can make good pop records without ever really landing on a hook, so ‘Sprite Fountain’ does it for me -- it seems to discard its biggest moments, like the arpeggiated bliss running through the background of “Gatrapa”, or else packs them all together like too many buds cramped into the back of a car. I'm happy to remember this band of serendipitous fools exist.
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- Sprite Fountain by The Ruby Suns
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