Faux Discx – 16th June
Unless you’ve lived in Brooklyn in the last few years, you won’t have heard of Rips. But you should hear about them now, because their debut album is a big dose of ‘yes’ with which to fight the constant stream of ‘no’ London keeps throwing at us.
So what’s it about, and what does it sound like? Well, it’s a New York garage rock album produced by Austin Brown from Parquet Courts. And guess what, it really sounds a lot like Parquet Courts – especially their more melodic, upbeat, conventional songs.
That’s absolutely fine though because Rips are simply couching their output in New York’s native musical vernacular: a tradition of lo-fi fuzz and laconic delivery stretching back to the ‘60s. Crunchy Fenders trundle along, sometimes riffing and alternating in the satisfying post-punk fashion. Rhythms are urgent and lively, lyrics are downbeat and introspective.
A disappointment in the world and your own actions in it permeates Rips’ landscape. The oldest song on the album, opener ‘Losing II’, is a song about a lack of time and a lack of progress: “Been slouching since ‘91, I’m scared of thinking about who I’ve become, Don’t wanna break my ma’s heart”. It’s a feeling we’ve all had, and it sets the tone for the whole album. There’s a constant element of the slacker – or the underachiever – to Rips, but it’s not worn as a badge of honour. Rips is a self-reflective litany of personal failings; a stream of consciousness on frustrations with self and society. It’s something a lot of people are going to relate to.
The delivery of these morose messages are almost deliberately mundane. The production feels worn in and familiar, like your bed after an average Tuesday that you know you will never remember again for the rest of your life. It’s not trying to impress, but it definitely does.
In spirit, they are transatlantic cousins of UK bands like the Magic Gang and Hooton Tennis Club, who write about the everyday with a profound accuracy. This is an album for anyone who has looked in the mirror and thought “I thought things would be different”.
Buy: Rips – Rips