Ruth Ruth – Right About Now

Ruth Ruth
Right About Now

I love it when a band has its heart in the right place. Ruth Ruth has been on a rollercoaster ride of labels, going from the indie mainstay Deep Elm to punk paradise Epitaph to even BMG. Guess where the band is now? You got it: independent. Ruth Ruth wanted to make an album free of pretentiousness, label influence, pressure, and the like. They did it, and they’re very proud of it.

While I love it when a band has its heart in the right place, it’s still not going to influence my opinion of them. My opinion of the band lies somewhere along these lines: okay, but seriously, how did you get to BMG?!

The sound is a hook-laden pop-rock sound, which isn’t a bad thing; the bad thing is the angle from which these musicians approach their sound. Right About Now gives me reason to believe that the guitarist in Ruth Ruth is deficient, as the bass player carries 75% of the melodies, and the guitar provides auxiliary noise for much of the album. This is a quite innovative sound, but it doesn’t pan out as well as it sounds on paper.

While I adore the bass guitar as an instrument, the bassist in Ruth Ruth can not do it alone. Although “Jim Baio” sports enough amazing bass lines to pull the whole song through, most of this album seems thin and uninspired. It’s as if the guitarist just forgot to show up for some takes, and they released the album anyway. “Every Time We Go to Bed” is the perfect example of this. This anemic wonder is supported solely by relatively simple bass riffs – even after a huge crescendo into the chorus, the chorus uses guitar sparingly, giving off a mixed message to the listener (is this supposed to be a let-down, or did they forget something here?). There is one universal theme in the guitar sound besides minimalism: the guitars have a reggae-ish quality to them. Does the guitarist want this sound, or is it a byproduct of his minimalism? It’s impossible to tell.

This isn’t to say it all sucks; there are a couple (two) songs that use guitars to a good extent, “Electric” and “Bishop Ground, NY.” The better of the two is “Electric,” a song that uses bass more often than guitar, but Ruth Ruth throws in the right amount of guitar at the right times to invoke a genuine mood to the sound.

I’m not opposed to Ruth Ruth’s sound, it’s just that it seems unfulfilled. The bad thing about writing this review is that this album is written in direct protest to reviewers, so not only is the band expecting this review, these folks are waiting to tout it as the evilness of the system coming to get them. Sorry, Ruth Ruth. I support your ideals, but I just don’t get your music.