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Video of the Moment #1109: The Ruby Suns

By on Thursday, 31st January 2013 at 6:00 pm

In the Ruby Suns video for ‘In Real Life’, Ryan McPhun manages to make fun of Pop Idol, the X Factor, and Britain’s Got Talent in one fell swoop in this Sims like send-up. Watch it below.

Carrie reviewed the latest album from the Ruby Suns, ‘Christopher’, out earlier this month, here.



Album Review: The Ruby Suns – Christopher

By on Thursday, 24th January 2013 at 12:00 pm

Ruby Suns Christopher coverThe Ruby Suns‘ American label Sub Pop Records describes Ryan McPhun as “a musical wayfarer, collecting sounds and styles from his travels around the globe”. ‘Christopher’, the group’s fourth album, was written in Oslo, Norway, after the break-up of McPhun’s romantic relationship, and Sub Pop describes it as an album “about starting over, but not necessarily moving forward”. This is an apt description of the album’s musical content. Its beautiful, icy sonic scenery clearly shows a Scandinavian influence, but it conveys very little action or tension, and while its sound effects are interesting, they don’t seem to serve any particular dramatic purpose.

This album contains surprisingly little of the color and catchiness of The Ruby Suns’ previous work, such as 2010’s ‘Fight Softly’ (review here). Opening track ‘Desert of Pop’ is a shimmery, high gloss dance number, which is catchy in the moment, but doesn’t stick to the ears after it ends. The album ends similarly, with the upbeat but largely static ‘Heart Attack’. The sterile, highly-polished electronic sounds and McPhun’s thin, sleek falsetto vocals are hypnotically pretty but often obscure the songs’ lyrics. This is particularly unfortunate, as ‘Christopher’ was apparently conceived as something of a story, following the metaphorical title character through his mirroring of McPhun’s own coming of age.

The most memorable song on ‘Christopher’ comes early in the sequence. In ‘Real Life’, the album’s second track, uses heavy drums and a catchy chorus (“I never want to live in real life / I’m not ready for the real life”) to break through the glossy sheen of its highly-produced, electronic sound. This song is one of the album’s few moments of lyrical clarity, and the lyrics are thought-provoking, like for example, “whenever you are, I’m already then / if then is now, then now is never.”

Beyond those three tracks, the album is largely unremarkable, aside from a few a few randomly scattered moments of sonic interest. Its trance-like ambience would provide nice background music for some other activity, but it isn’t particularly engaging in and of itself.

Within the context of The Ruby Suns’ oeuvre, ‘Christopher’ is an accurate portrait of where McPhun was in the time of the album’s inception. Taken out of context, the album lacks focus and dramatic interest. The bright sonic shimmer blinds the listener and distorts the dramatic view from that narrow vantage point. However, if each Ruby Suns album is taken from a broader perspective as a portrait of its own physical or emotional setting, the album’s vivid depiction of Scandinavia’s icy insularity, as well as the cold isolation following the end of a romance, fits in quite nicely.


‘Christopher’, the new album from The Ruby Suns, will be out on the 28th of January on Memphis Industries in the UK. The American release follows the next day on Sub Pop. You can download the track ‘Kingfisher Call Me’ from the album from this previous MP3 of the Day post.


Video of the Moment #1064: The Ruby Suns

By on Tuesday, 11th December 2012 at 6:00 pm

How trippy can the woods get? The new video from New Zealand’s the Ruby Suns is for the track ‘Kingfisher Call Me’, which we gave away as a free download last month, gives you some clue. Watch it below.



MP3 of the Day #701: The Ruby Suns

By on Thursday, 1st November 2012 at 10:00 am

The Ruby Suns from New Zealand are offering up this brand new track, ‘Kingfisher Call Me’, for free download. The track will feature on their new album ‘Christopher’, which will drop on the 28th of January on Memphis Industries.


Video of the Moment #316: The Ruby Suns

By on Wednesday, 4th August 2010 at 6:00 pm

It was the dead of winter when I reviewed the Ruby Suns‘ latest album ‘Fight Softly’. Its sunny rhythms were perfect to get me out of the inclement weather stupor. I’m not really sure what elderly ball players have to do with the song ‘Cinco’, but there is an appropriately unusually psychedelic element in this video. Watch it below.



Album Review: The Ruby Suns – Fight Softly

By on Monday, 15th February 2010 at 2:00 pm

I know next to nothing about New Zealand, except that the ‘Lord of the Rings’ movies were filmed there. But if the Ruby Suns‘s latest album ‘Fight Softly’ was the country’s guidebook, surely the sunniest skies are up ahead. (I say this sarcastically as I look out my window where foot upon foot of snow still sits unmelted by my door.) It’s summer in the Southern Hemisphere right now, don’t you know?

Perhaps an apéritif on the veranda is in order. Imagine pouring the synths and assorted electronics from Sam Eastgate’s best choones from Late of the Pier, the psychedelic licks of MGMT, and a few drops of sick beats from Simian Mobile Disco into a cocktail shaker. Shake the contents vigourously and pour into a tall, slinky, sexy glass and you have some idea of what ‘Fight Softly’ sounds like.

The album is filled with fun moments. As its title suggests, ‘Cinco’ is a Latin-infused dance-a-thon. According to a press release, the song is about singer/songwriter Ryan McPhun’s troubles with his studio’s landlord; perhaps the landlord is Latino? Tracks ‘Cranberry’, ‘How Kids Fail’ and ‘Dusty Fruit’ continue the joyous dance party with tribal beat, marching band, Carnival atmosphere. And I dare you not to moonwalk to the groove in ‘Haunted House.’

Swirling instrumentation and finger-snapping swagger provide a great backdrop to McPhun’s starry-eyed falsetto in ‘Closet Astrologer’, about a mate’s preoccupation with astrologic divination. The last track, the humourously named ‘Olympics on Pot’, closes out the album, the electrobeats in its middle section worthy of the hottest dancefloors. I hope this one gets put out as a single because it deserves the limelight.

But in case you think this is only for the club-going public, ‘Fight Softly’ is also the kind of album that sounds especially good on headphones, because you can hear all the different layers of sounds McPhun has lovingly stacked one on top of another to create each sonic masterpiece. I have but two complaints with the album. One, McPhun’s vocals are made so ethereal with the production, they get lost in the mix. And two, to the casual listener who isn’t paying close enough attention, a couple of the songs sound too similar and have similar vibes.

But these are minor criticisms. While we on the East Coast of America wait impatiently for the spring thaw, tunes like these from the Ruby Suns are most welcome. Further, with these new songs now in their arsenal, I reckon this band’s live sets will be nothing short of searing. Do yourself a favour and check this album out when it’s released next month on Memphis Industries.

MP3: The Ruby Suns – Cranberry



‘Fight Softly’, the Ruby Suns’s third album, will be released on 08 March by Memphis Industries. The single ‘Cranberry’ will be released on 01 March, ahead of the album.


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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

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