Review by Nathan Woodward of Anna O
Clearly not suffering from any second album malaise, Sydney lads RÜFÜS return with a polished and deliberate dance-pop record Bloom. Ranging in style from the straight ahead groove of Be With You to the vast electronica of closing track Innerbloom, Bloom has arrived just in time to help you see out your summer. The album kicks off with the sounds of running water and melancholy oohs and sampled claps, setting the tone for an album that, uncommonly in the dance music world, often chooses to reflect on the nuance of a feeling rather than go all out with raw energy. So down to the nitty gritty:
What does it sound like?
Bloom is musically bright and lively with lots of synth layers, dance grooves, pulsing bass and the odd bit of jangly guitar to spice things up. At the same time it’s a mature record where restraint and subtlety rule the day. Vocally, there’s a sense of isolation or separation, like something important is absent. This contrasts well with the more upbeat instrumentation to facilitate just the right amount of melancholy.
In what context would I listen to this album?
A relaxed, evening barbecue at the beach would be my ideal scenario for listening to this album - but you might find it equally charming as the soundtrack to your commute home from a hard day at work or as part of a study playlist.
What are the standout tracks?
Hypnotised – The lovely chill out beat, danced over by the alternating voices of lead vocalist Tyrone Lindqvist and an (at this time) unknown female singer gives this song it’s delightful sense of rest. It also happens to feature one of the best chorus melodies on the record – you know the type…the one that seems fresh and familiar all at the same time.
Tell Me – This one’s four on the floor kick right from the start and builds a great energy leading both into and out of another great chorus melody. Layering the lyric-less vocal hook used in the instrumental over the last two choruses is a particularly classy piece of arrangement.
Innerbloom – The third single, and to this reviewer’s ears, the album pinnacle, is a sprawling piece of evolving electronica clocking in at 9m38. The track starts with only some detuned synth chords and sound effects (a nod back to the album’s opening track), waiting until the 1m30 mark before the vocals kick in for the first time. I was hooked right from the start and my interest never waned throughout. The scarceness of vocals in this song serve to give them greater weight when they are present, while at the same time allowing the song to morph and for the guys’ arrangement and production skills to shine. This track is a great representation of the album as a whole.
Do you rate it?
I do, I do indeed.
I rate this album 7.7 perth sunsets out of 10.
Bloom is available for purchase January 22.