I consider The Ruby Suns previous album, "Sea Lion," something of an indie pop masterpiece, so "Fight Softly" had a lot to live up to when I first heard it. Though I welcome a change in sound, the songwriting here simply isn't as timeless or conducive to Ryan McPhun's talents as a guitar pop whiz. A couple tracks like "How Kids Fail" are great additions to their canon, otherwise this is a surprisingly standard indie affair.
I adored this album when it first came out and it has only grown on me more since then. I really am surprised at the many low scores the album receives, though I attribute it to the fact that Fight Softly isn't immediately accessible, it's not particularly traditional. The songs meander and only slowly reveal their intricacies, they don't necessarily follow standard song structures and therefor can be a bit 'difficult' at first. But once you really let the album sink in, with a good pair of headphones, I don't know how you can't see it as a psychedelic, sun-drenched masterpiece.
Fight Softly is a nice departure for their previous album, but doesn't leave you feeling complete. There is something missing in the way they did this album. It feels like the musicians were distracted.