Grouper
Ruins


4.0
excellent

Review

by Xenophanes STAFF
November 13th, 2014 | 143 replies


Release Date: 11/11/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill" collapsed and condensed, "Ruins" is Grouper's reflective and nostalgic masterpiece.

Listening to Grouper has always been an intensely personal experience. Crafting music that is both reserved and understated, Liz Harris has always had penchant for inspiring listeners to reflect upon the silence between sounds. Her music is like a specter- -visible but weightless and surreal. Emptiness fills much of her music and within these voids lie some of the most evocative sounds you’re likely to find. Yet as an artist she has been consistently lauded for her 2008 effort, Dragging A Dead Deer Up A Hill, which reveled in the messy light. It was big, bold, and aimless. Nonetheless it was a beautiful and weightless marvel which she has finally dismantled and built into something new.

With Ruins Grouper has retreated into the recess of her music; locking the door and throwing away the key. The record is a dark and polarizing compliment to her masterpiece, featuring a somber and lonely tone that feels completely isolated. Interestingly, it also feels like a companion piece to The Man Who Died In His Boat. Like said album, Ruins is a condensed form of Grouper’s sound, with sparse instrumentation and ethereal, ambient backdrops. Whereas last year’s album was more guitar driven, here the keyboard is greatly favored. The empty atmosphere allows for Liz to create some haunting melodies, with “Lighthouse” in particular sounding painfully depressing.

Listening to Ruins was strangely nostalgic. Not because Grouper is treading old ground, nor from it sounding to derivative. Rather, there is something relate-able within these airy tunes. There is a tangible, human sadness that Liz has (almost regrettably) captured here and it’s beautifully tragic. Few artists can capture a mood or fleeting feeling like Grouper, and with Ruins she has done just that.

Rating: 4.2



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Phlegm
November 13th 2014


7241 Comments


Nice one

TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
November 13th 2014


16823 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good to see you're back reviewing

Digging: Tame Impala - Currents B-Sides & Remixes

Atari
Staff Reviewer
November 13th 2014


22711 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

nice review.



nor from it sounding "too" derivative (last paragraph)

Digging: Langhorne Slim - Lost At Last, Vol 1

Asdfp277
November 13th 2014


15855 Comments


"Liz Harris has always had penchant"
-"a penchant"?



ILJ
November 13th 2014


6941 Comments


a penchant = a knack

Asdfp277
November 13th 2014


15855 Comments


but it's missing the "a", or is it right that way too?

ILJ
November 13th 2014


6941 Comments


oh i see what you're saying now, yeah he's missing an a.

Jade
Emeritus
November 13th 2014


10698 Comments


One of your best reviews, bud. Nice to see ya around

TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
November 14th 2014


16823 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Lighthouse might be my favorite on here

oltnabrick
November 14th 2014


35835 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

When I was a kid I got swallowed whole by a grouper. Thankfully my dad was right there and reacted quickly he stabbed the grouper with his knife and pulled it onto the boat. They tried to pull me back out the mouth but for some reason it wasn't working so they just sliced the fish open and got me out that way. 

Bestelemek
November 17th 2014


23 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is not my normal bag but it's awesome. Definitely been on high rotation lately, I'll have to get around to checking out her earlier stuff.

oltnabrick
December 13th 2014


35835 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

what the hell

Relinquished
December 13th 2014


36617 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yea oltna what the hell, say something about the actual music

Phlegm
December 13th 2014


7241 Comments


yea have you even listened to this oltnabrick(?)

YakNips
December 31st 2014


18944 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

does anyone have the lyrics for this yet i figured out like one line in clearing

oltnabrick
December 31st 2014


35835 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

say something about the actual music

YakNips
December 31st 2014


18944 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

its fucking good

Underflow
January 5th 2015


3833 Comments


This reminds me of Ulver's "Shadows of the Sun." Very beautiful record.

Torontonian
January 26th 2015


2655 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

i didn't think this was all that to be honest. also, whats the point with the static? Does she not think that her piano/voice is captivating enough on its own?

eternium
January 26th 2015


16354 Comments


You ask that as if the static was artificially added to the sound. You don't listen to much lo-fi music do you?



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