The Virtues – Ruminate

The Virtues
Ruminate

The Virtues, hmmm. They are from Sweden you say? Oh, a rock band? Are you expecting to hear something familiar? Maybe something like 60s pop, roughed up a bit, pumped up with a more in-your-face attitude? If so, you’re right. The Virtues studied their predecessors and then mixed in some modern energy. But don’t file these guys under “The Hives” just yet; think less snotty, a little more mellow, deriving more from yesterday than today. In other words, just what you’ve been waiting to hear.
“New Years Resolution” is more modern than the rest, a repetitive chorus, looping guitars, almost piercing keyboards, and vocals like an early 90s U2. “Matchday” shows somebody’s listened to the Monkees more than a few times. The vocals aren’t as smooth, the drums are a little more chaotic, and the guitar goes on a rampage toward the end, but underneath it all the influence shines through. “Alarm Call” takes a while to get rolling and then tramples everything in its path, as the snowball gets bigger. The guest trumpet adds wonderfully to the track and makes this song feel like its just where the Virtues should be.
“Is That So” isn’t going to let up on you either, another sonic track that isn’t going to let you ignore it. A little bit of punk rock peeks through as the drums pound and Per Bergkvist shouts “Is that so.” “Bout to Be Told” is another REM-influenced pop gem with excellent backing vocals and a rocking harmonica solo. Energy pours out of your speakers, convincing you these guys are for real. “On the 1st Day of May” rocks the boat in a mellow way. The guys prove they can play their instruments when they go instrumental for a few minutes towards the end of the song.
The Virtues bring a lot to the table; they have an understanding of pop-structure, they equally blend past and present influences, and they are accomplished musicians. What more could you ask for? Well, they also pride themselves in their writing ability, giving each song even more depth. I don’t think their writing is quite up to par with their music, but that is no easy task with how great this band sounds.