Lake Ruth – Actual Entity

Lake Ruth - Actual Entity

Lake Ruth – Actual Entity

Having only formed in 2015, New York’s Lake Ruth have wasted little time in cutting a full-length studio statement.  After sneaking-out two standalone short-form releases earlier this year as stepping-stones – in the form of a two-track seven-inch on The Great Pop Supplement and as a one-song digital-only freebie via Bandcamp – the trio made up of singer Allison Brice, multi-instrumentalist Hewson Chen and drummer Matt Schulz find themselves approaching Actual Entity by finessing their primary sonic settings and looking to where they can stretch them next.

Channelling their past CV entries with The New Lines, Holy Fuck, Savak, The Eighteenth Day Of May and others as well as carrying-on from where the aforementioned calling-cards left-off, the bulk of Actual Entity finds the threesome tightly-coiling around a central equation.  This entails Chen and Schulz twisting, curling and swirling their psych-pop arrangements around the centripetal point of Brice’s fragrant ethereal tones with varying degrees of dizzying dreaminess.  Hence, “The Greenfield Industrialist” and “Dr. Snow And The Broad Street Pump” funnel Saint Etienne’s retro art-pop through Broadcast’s baroque sci-fi filter; “The Only One Who Knows” splices together choppy raga-funk guitar licks and bustling drums with filaments of Fifth Dimension-era Byrds and Serge Gainsbourg circa-Initials B.B.; “Helium” adds lapping waves of fizzing burbling vintage synths and bobbing bass-lines into the same Franco-Californian melting-pot; and the rubbery yet twinkling “A Victimless Crime” beguilingly if somewhat improbably imagines Tortoise remixing The Kick Inside.

Just when this primary route-steering feels like it might be lapsing-out into repetitious formula, the long-player’s last two tracks make gripping gear shifts.  Thus, the gorgeous stripped-back “One Night As I Lay On My Bed” unfolds as a dainty yet steely acid-folk ballad that invokes both a rhythm section-free Pentangle and early-Espers whilst the epic closer “Yet Still Tomorrow Comes” ploughs into seven and a half minutes of guitar-driven trancing that majestically merges strands of The Velvet Underground & Nico, Emperor Tomato Ketchup and Neu! 75 into an elegiac yet enraptured composite.

At times, Actual Entity does suggest that Lake Ruth are still seeking a more clearly defined overall direction, with a few things like bringing Brice’s vocals higher in the mix and thinning-out some of the denser instrumental layers perhaps needing to be considered more next time around.  Yet it’s great to find a new band brimming with the ideas and the capabilities to keep moving forwards whilst honourably harking-back to so many high-grade sources of inspiration.  A very promising potpourri of a debut LP in short.

The Great Pop Supplement