The Ruby Suns Fight Softly

The Ruby Suns Fight Softly
On paper, Ryan McPhun's influences sound like a disaster waiting to happen. But the Kiwi transplant actually knows how to channel "New Jack Swing and modern Angolan kuduro, Fleetwood Mac and Britney Spears, Brazilian Tropicália and Argentinean cumbia" and turn them into a winning formula. On his third album as the Ruby Suns, McPhun ditched the strumming guitars and live drums that previously shaped his music and loaded up on synthesizers and pedals for an album oxymoronically titled Fight Softly. Even more so this time, he's blurred the lines between indie and world music with his outsider's perspective, which is not only skilful and wildly inventive but also genuine. For instance, the synthetic, Caribbean polyrhythms of "Closet Astrologer" ricochet off a rainfall of shimmering, melodic noise and that downy, blue-eyed soul croon of his, and "How Kids Fail" sinks into a Hi-NRG euphoria of synths battling it out with Afro-energized beats. The Ruby Suns present pop music as a meticulous, multi-layered, exotic cavalcade that comes as close as you can to evoking the sensation of walking on sunshine. (Sub Pop)