RUTT – II – Album Review
I stumbled on this quote out there in internet land while I was listening to the new album from the Boston-based band of never-ending fusion in the age of confusion…quite arguably it’ll tell you more about RUTT or give you more insight into their band than anything I could write myself, so I pulled it for ya. Regarding their lead-single “Collective Suicide,” the message on their social media board read: I decided a while ago I was pretty much done shooting my mouth off for nothing on social media and that energy needed to go into the one weapon I had.”
I can get behind that on several levels. There is a whole new playing field of keyboard warriors out there in our world today…and it’s clear that RUTT has had enough of that shit. Channeling that rage into compelling cuts blazing with insight & awareness on this new record is completely part of the game plan here – RUTT is activism in action at a time on our planet where it’s more brutally necessary than ever. Incidentally, I also know extremely well what it feels like to have one skill, which I suppose are these word-things here that I’m typing out…but in my own way, doing our best here at SBS to rectify a longstanding problem within the music-journalism scene is how I’ve chosen to rebel…and enlighten. At least hopefully some of the time…I’m not a prophet by any sense of the word, and sometimes I say some downright stupid shit, or make the same amount of errors in an article as any of the peers I complain about. The POINT is that our energy should always be spent where it can be put to its best use and maximum potential – for me it’s writing about music; for RUTT, it’s about making music that matters.
Pulling no punches, RUTT shreds into the beginning of their lead-single & opening cut “Collective Suicide” like a band on fire, shifting effortlessly between the twisted Alt-Rock-meets-Punk-meets-Progressive atmosphere as the song transitions with intensity between part to part. Perhaps nothing will hit home as much as when RUTT sings “We should have known better than this” after detailing a slew of reasons as to why our society is sliding towards oblivion. Though…props to the very beginning as well, “We elect a man on TV” pretty much tells ya all you need to know about where “Collective Suicide” is going to go – it dives deep politically, socially, and cuts even deeper personally. Even the people out there that could claim to be leading their best lives and doing their best to help the planet would realize that RUTT’s making savagely relevant points throughout this song…and ultimately, though the bridge of this song implies there might be a bit of hope – this opening track pretty much details our doom. “We should have known better than this” – RUTT’s definitely not wrong. The question is whether or not we’ve gone too far to get back now…and hopefully, if we’re not all caught up “Watching The World End” on TV – we’ve still got a chance to change the road we’re on. Scorching opener though, no doubt, RUTT’s IN THIS, fueled up and ready to burn this whole barn right down from the moment II begins.
“Watching The World End” is a killer example of the smarts laid down in the music of RUTT and the multi-layered aspects of what’s being said in these songs. While the opening samples would have you instantly assuming that RUTT’s gonna start attacking the ol’ fake news here for a moment – and perhaps there’s a case to be made there as well – but there’s also the comment that comes along with it beneath the surface, which is that the protagonist of this story…of much of these songs, if there is one, is us. Right now, WE are “Watching The World End,” captivated by the ‘pretty colors’ and talking heads looping 24/7 to get us the news…and this song speaks to how it’s captivation really in its purest form – not the happiest side of its possible definitions…to hold captive, which is where are world is currently held hostage, unable to move forward because the system we’re in isn’t designed to consider humanity. Instead, we watch TV and log on to our social networks and sit comforted in our corners by affirming what we already believe…and cocooning ourselves like that is eventually what’s going to lead to us all “Watching The World End” with a paid subscription to the live-feed as it all comes crumbling down. RUTT knows this. These songs…many, if not all, are warnings…pay attention. It’s like supercharged socially-aware fight music – very reflective of the mission that RUTT is on to wake us the fuck up and stop us from “Watching The World End” while we munch our popcorn and iPhone it up into oblivion. Wild AF – it’s definitely noticeable just how much effort, skill, and musicianship goes into the music of a track like this from both in front of the studio boards & behind’em as well – “Watching The World End” is like a Perry Farrell side-project X10 in energy…flexing a bizarre electro-tribal like call out to the universe in hopes to shake a few unconscious souls back into being awake, aware, and ready to battle.
Proving that you really can’t predict where RUTT will drift in the next song, sound, or idea – the singing chops are busted out on “10 Minutes” more clearly, with a giant switch in the direction of style from where II began. Impressive! Seriously. RUTT slides into this smooth groove, brings in the piano, sets the mood & vibe to chill, and brings out the sweetened hooks on “10 Minutes” that shifts the entire sound towards R&B – and considering the blazing antics of the first two cuts diving into hard Alt-Rock ideas, there’s no doubt that this cut will make a huge impact and be the watercooler moment of the album for many. The debate will be over whether or not something like this would fit with the ultra-heated barn-burnin’ Rock surrounding it I’m sure – but in my opinion, as much as it might stray away from the straight-fire from the distortion & amplifiers compared to the opening tracks, “10 Minutes” has the kind of groove & accessible sound that’ll win over people no problemo. We get a minute to breathe easy here – and I think the people out there will welcome this break in the intensity – I mean, this track is jammin’ in all the right hazy, dreamy, melodic, rhythmic, and cool ways that a cut possibly can. It speaks to our impatient attitude I suppose on some level, contrasting that with a slower moving vibe was a clever idea – & c’mon people, the short instrumental section around the 2:15 mark is perfection.
“Dreamy Prepper” is probably one of the harder cuts to get to the ultimate core meanings of in comparison to the others perhaps – but with that being said, this cut makes up for any potential shortcomings in that respect by supercharging the gritty psychedelic riffage to eleven. BESIDES that fact, not every damn song needs to beat you over the head with deep meanings as the main feature – sometimes a band needs to rock the fuck right out, and vent a little! And if this doesn’t get you amped right the fuck up, ready to storm the capital…well…I mean…it SHOULD, what the hell is wrong with ya – what holes on your body are you listening through? Because that’s not on the music, that’s on YOU – go get yourself checked out. “Dreamy Prepper” is still laced with venom line after line for the most part; the vocals come out with wickedly stylistic sound & tone dripping & snarling through the entire vibe and the chorus has a chant that could work quite well outside of the doors of congress as RUTT shows ya who’s really about to take the House this year…or perhaps burn it down in the process. Sidenote – I don’t know how many of you out there know the band Clor – but check those guys out if you dig this cut…there’s a similar rubbery bounce and untamed intensity that you’ll find between that band and the way that RUTT takes on the chorus of “Dreamy Prepper.” My gut tells me it’s probably the verse that people are gonna remember most…that might be the case here, a track where the chorus doesn’t necessarily move it forward maybe – but it’s certainly not holding anything back either. That riff and main musical hook of “Dreamy Prepper” is as hot as a habanero though y’all, make no mistake, that’s fire. Dig the back & forth of the call & answer style of the chorus between the different perspectives of what’s being forced on us on one side, & the true response of the people represented by being shouted back loudly in reply. The commitment to each of these ideas and quality in what RUTT creates never wavers and comes out swinging for the fences in the transitions that occur within “Dreamy Prepper,” taking this cut through a whole host of parts & sounds that require skill, technique, and mad passion to pull off as well as it’s been done on this cut.
Diggin’ the post-punk influence on the vibe of “Can’t Imagine” – that’s of course at the beginning, obviously before it explodes into an insightful mix of industrial-rock-pop-experimentalism…you know, standard all-in-a-day’s-work approach from RUTT that we’re getting conditioned to by now. I’ll say this – “Can’t Imagine” probably has the toughest spot on the record coming from the highly-accessible rip through the scorching heat of “Dreamy Pepper” – you feel that pull back into the slowed-down atmosphere to start that next tune after as a result. Even though “Can’t Imagine” like, literally LIGHTS this motherfucker up like you wouldn’t believe later on – particularly around the fourth minute where the fireworks of this cut become undeniable to any set of ears listening – I can still hear that the sheer amount of sound in the mix, the intensity, and the structure of the quiet/loud dynamics are gonna throw a couple people out there when it comes to this tune overall. Best way I can put it, is that it’s bloody involved – but that’s what art SHOULD be…and if it takes more than a couple spins to get the full scope of everything that’ll come at ya on “Can’t Imagine,” I’d argue that’s time well spent. Really inventive drums, fantastic vocals in the chorus of this cut…it’s a moody cut for sure…almost closer to Placebo territory here, but like crossed with something like The Editors. “Can’t Imagine” details a lot about what we “Can’t Imagine” to be true…clearly inspired by much of what’s currently been happening in our deconstructing world…and while we “Can’t Imagine” much of this to be true, it is & here we are. That solo at the four minute mark – absolutely goddamn gold, the tone is 100% INCREDIBLE and it’s a huge highlight not just on the song, but on the whole freakin’ record. It’s that inspired spark that again, amps you up in the hopes that there CAN potentially be change – if we’re willing to ACT and not just chill the fuck all the time. “Can’t Imagine” builds to epic proportions…building up like welling emotions ready to explode…and maybe that’s the case, collectively between the ones we all share right now.
Questioning our existence all together collectively, RUTT slays a killer Rock tune with “What I’m Looking At.” You know…alright…I’m just gonna say this…I might get hated-on here, but I think this is a legitimate comment due to the fact that RUTT has reminded me of RUSH more than a few times along the way – what is that exactly? Anyone else out there hearing that in some of these tunes? I say it with nothing but love & respect…not always the number one band I’ll reach for by any stretch, but killer players that have certainly written some extraordinarily badass tunes throughout music’s history. I dunno. Maybe it’s just me…but I hear a few similarities in songs like “What I’m Looking At” and a couple others on II. LISTEN to the way this song starts and how the bass & drums interact, the vocals as well…come on now – tell me you don’t hear it. Clearly there’s more cajones to the music of RUTT – but it’s there, I swear. Certainly more beastly when it comes to the vocal aspect…it’s like you can hear the maddening of RUTT in real-time as these thoughts swirl through the brain and explode in sad mix of disbelief and shock. Badass mix of Alternative & Rock ideas…it’s a beefy cut in the late stages of the record that’ll easily grab your attention with its relentless energy and bold punch this track has. Bass really stands out, vocals do too – I think the attention to detail on a track like “What I’m Looking At” from concept to execution hits the mark dead-on here and lets the Rock side of RUTT go for a serious rip.
Getting the hybrid fusion of sound & style back into gear, RUTT heads into the Hip-Hop inspired vibes of “Make It Up As We Go” – somewhat in that Mike Patton-esque approach, which is always more than cool with me. I’d imagine that’s an influence on RUTT somewhere along this project’s path…if not for the sound directly, that courage to mix it up this hard within one record and pursue a record that can withstand shifting between the massive distance from Rap to Rock without being Rap/Rock – feel me? If I’m not totally mistaken here…there’s commentary of all kinds going on here from the approach to music to the more broad aspects of our crumbling society as well aren’t there? Is that just me? I hear voices, I see dead people, I predicted the rise of Coldplay, and occasionally I pick up on some other things happening in the music I listen to…it seems like RUTT’s purposely making a statement here retreading over old-school elements of the music, modern-day vibes – and inserting an absolutely badass vocal part bursting into the club-like mix of low-end sound shouting something…it could either be “Imagination” or “Machination” – not 100% sure of exactly what’s being said truthfully, but it’s inserted into this song as if to jarringly remind us to always be creative and mix it up rather than just keep our shit on the straight & narrow. Maybe I’m reading too much into it. Maybe RUTT is just as guilty as any of us and is willing to “Make It Up As We Go” while still managing to be fully convincing in the commitment & conviction found in the spirit, sentiment, & sound of this record – though I highly doubt it. You can hear the efforts being made from the writing to recording, performance to production on ALL these tunes – as it should be. It creeps, it crawls, it has plenty along the way to entertain ya in that alt-artistic kind of style…it’s quite possible that this might appeal to one half of RUTT’s listeners more than the other…definitely asking listeners to go all the way with the variety & elastic versatility of II with a cut like this, but I sincerely doubt it’ll be tough to keep people onboard at this point. YOU know what you signed up for in this wild musical oddity by now & you’ve got one more cut to go, so listen up!
“Keeper” rides that edge between Goth, Electro, & Industrial, while of course, pushing those boundaries and shaking the walls as hard as can possibly be done in that killer RUTT style of flair & fire. Maybe it’s Prick I’m thinking of…that project that Kevin McMahon started back in the 90’s…RUTT reminds me of that quite a bit really. Much better production on II though…Prick’s self-titled record was dusty as fuck. “Keeper” draws on that loud/quiet dynamic with powerful results, exploding around the two-minute mark at the height of it all – another solo with brilliantly killer tone rippin’ it up before heading back into that wicked low-end synth hook in the music and a genius vocal-sample in the mix as “Keeper” goes on, wrestling religion in all kinds of ways as RUTT grinds through the final cut on II. BURLY solo around the two-minute mark that’ll break before the sample voice will start up – but listen to how the guitar continues to contribute even in the background, adding just enough attitude to the music to still stand out even in a more subdued role until summoned to go scorch it up again in the chorus. There’s a couple cuts on II that I’d imagine are gonna garner a few Marilyn Manson comparisons too when it comes to both the vocals and music…which is probably only going to get easier for critics on a track that tackles religion head-on like “Keeper” does – but to be clear, they’d be wrong – this ain’t that. Similarities at times perhaps, but RUTT’s definitely going in its own direction, separate from what’s perhaps a more fictionalized & glossy chaos and taking us deeper into a more creative & reality-based chaos instead – but for the record, neither are going to help you sleep any better at nighttime.
It’s innovative stuff all-around on II, and an effort that RUTT should be more than satisfied with – this record is stocked full of wild sound, gripping ideas – some that you’ll catch, some that’ll fly right over your head, and some that will hopefully be absorbed by osmosis by everyone listening – there’s several layers to dig on here. RUTT’s making material with intensity, fire, and purpose…and that passion of the mission, expression, messages, and music radiates throughout the creativity & execution you’ll find on II.
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