The Ruby Suns

Thursday

SXSW Records

The Ruby Suns

Fight Softly (Sub Pop/Lil' Chief)

For 2007 sophomore effort Sea Lion, Kiwi Ryan McPhun of the Ruby Suns took Brian Wilson on a trans-Indian Ocean jaunt across the islands and into Africa, where they did a bit of exploration. For Fight Softly, McPhun has gone Kurtz with the Californian. If you're following the linear progression, you'd still find vestiges of the Pet Sounds orchestrations that made the group's eponymous debut so alluring, but if you just dropped in at this point, you'd be at a loss to find anything readily identifiable underneath the overly lush arrangements. And Fight Softly is more a product of arrangements than any kind of pop conventions. They're obviously McPhun's songs to assemble as he wishes, but eschewing formula for atmospherics isn't particularly novel. Just because you've subverted melody and rhythm in favor of something more textural doesn't make you Brian Wilson. (Thu., 1am, Galaxy Room Backyard.)

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