Review Summary: Ruby Coast has delivered a dazzling first LP with many memorable songs that you will have stuck in your head for days.
Hailing from Ontario, Ruby Coast is one of the newest bands to join the indie pop scene. Their first LP, “Whatever This Is,” was produced by Howard Billerman (the former drummer for Arcade Fire) and Brian Paulson (Slint, Wilco).
At this point in time indie pop has already been done to death, and new bands looking to enter the genre need to really create stellar debut albums if they want to garner any attention to themselves. With that in mind, here is my review of “Whatever This Is.”
The album starts off in typical indie pop fashion, a catchy drumbeat, bouncy guitar rhythms, soft snippets of violin in the background, occasional yells from the vocalist… Wait, that’s not right. When was the last time you heard yelling in an indie pop song? I’m not talking a hardcore scream or growl, but the vocalist was definitely yelling. The first time I heard the song I went back and checked to make sure I had heard it properly. Rather than detracting, the yell served to bring me back into the song that I had been letting drift into the background that sounded akin to a lot of the indie pop already out there. After I finished listening to the first song (also the title track) one or two more times, I proceeded to go on to the rest of the album.
As I continued to listen I was met with more infectious indie pop that was sparingly peppered with yells. And because the yells had caused me to pay more attention to an album that I would have otherwise filed under generic indie pop, I began to see that this album was quite a bit better than a lot of the more established bands out there. The energy almost never wanes, and with most songs between two and four minutes in length, I was never bored by the catchy tunes.
The lyrics of the album match the fun sound and I never found the band taking itself too seriously. “If the cat was killed by curiosity / then I'll die just the same / first human buried in a pet cemetery,” croons the vocalist in “Made to Change,” possibly the album’s best track. “Creep Me Out” starts with whistling and an extremely catchy, clap-stomp beat and keeps up the frantic pace while poking fun at the “book club that helps mankind” (religion). In “Liza Liza” laments of a love lost is accompanied by beautiful violin and a heartfelt guitar closing. Following an easily recognizable indie pop formula “Plasticine,” starts slowly and steadily builds throughout the song to an outstanding climax. The only times the album falters is when it slows down. Clocking in at 6:00, the album closer “White Moon,” feels drawn out and forced, and only about two minutes of it contain the energy that presided over the rest of the album.
At the end of the day, Ruby Coast has delivered a dazzling first LP with many memorable songs that you will have stuck in your head for days. If this is any sign of how their next album will turn out, then Ruby Coast is definitely a band to keep your eye on.
Made to Change
Creep Me Out
Whatever This Is