Album Review: Ruts DC – ElectrAcoustiC Volume One

  • Peter Hough posted
  • Reviews

Ruts DC

ElectrAcoustiC Volume One - Sosumi Recordings

‘Old wine in new bottles’ is a phrase with negative connotations, implying that something old and tired and has been dressed up and re-presented in order to make it seem appealing again. Let me state at the outset that this is most definitely NOT the case with this collection of songs from revered veterans Ruts DC.

This collection of songs is not a retrospective. It is a vivid but intimate communion with a band utterly comfortable with the strength of their material and confident enough to strip it back to the barest essentials. Not that Ruts/Ruts DC were ever over-produced, even in their deeper dub moments. There has always been a vitality and urgency about them that the recording process could not suppress. While the origins of this collection predate the pandemic (the 2019 Rebellion additional set was semi-unplugged), there is something introspective and contemplative about this set of 11 songs that matches the times. Contemplative yes, but as urgent and stirring as the full electric set, underlining the possibly overlooked fact that these are fine, fine songs. Five tracks from Music Must Destroy complement six older and classic songs and, while spanning decades, make a set that works as a piece.

Performance-wise, it’s a tour de force. If your Ruts DC experience is based on sweaty moshpits and big halls, this is an opportunity to appreciate the accomplishment and musicianship on display. There’s a sense of refined understatement in the performance, as well as flourishes and moments of pure exuberance. Leigh Heggarty, particularly, delivers the late Paul Fox‘s classic riffs perfectly, but brings his own personality and flourish to the newer material.

Some may say that punk should be loud and urgent and maybe the idea of a lighter semi-acoustic touch seems counter-intuitive, even off-putting. As the Music Must Destroy album demonstrates, Ruts DC don’t need to rely on that early venom. That said, the classics are here: Something That I Said, West One and Babylon’s Burning all get the treatment. There’s even a bit of old school rockabilly in Walk Or Run, just to underline that the band are not hostages of their past or narrowly defined as part of some notional genre.

All in all, a fine album of music that captures Ruts DC in a more contemplative and intimate mood and showcases them for what they are – a trio of fine musicians with a catalogue of first class songs. One to listen to, and not just hear.

You can pre-order “ElectrAcoustiC Volume One” via Ruts DC here