Rodeo Ruby Love – The Pits

  • Cole Faulkner posted
  • Reviews

Rodeo Ruby Love

The Pits - Pentimento Music Co.

I don’t think I’ve seen a less accurate “recommended if you like” comparison than that of Rodeo Ruby Love to Streetlight Manifesto.  Sure, Rodeo Ruby Love features occasional brass horns, but it’s like comparing fire and ice on the grounds that they both have temperature.  A rattling pace and a vocal horn section would be a given with for the ska powerhouse, but the smooth alternative rhythms from hereon in couldn’t be less aligned.  A much more intuitive parallel falls in with the soft-spoken indie spokesmen Ben Folds or Ben Kweller.

Once you recover from the shock of the promotional misalignment, The Pits features plenty of alternative indie goodness.  Never overpowering but frequently wide-spanning, Rodeo Ruby Love infuses elements of country, piano rock, female supporting vocals and the occasional horn section for good measure.  But for all their breadth, simplicity is their key for the success.  Songs like “It Was Weird” unfold on the strength of their casual tunefulness, while more catchy numbers like the title track make the most of their guitar and organ combo without all the extras bogging down the infectious simplicity.

While it’s tough to pick favourites, “Sand Pike” serves as one of the most striking examples of the band’s collective strength.  Opening with a humble piano ballad, the band methodically layers on subtle chords and vocals until an abrupt explosion of punked up drumming raises the tempo to a brisk jaunt.  It’s like boiling a frog in a pot of hot water, you won’t realize the change until it’s well underway.  The old timey piano and playful horn shouts a track later on “Sweet Adam” present a natural pick up point.  At the risk of sounding repetitious, so many subsequent songs like “Bottom Of The Barrel” and “Christina” flow so well into one another it’s easy to just let the disc play out in full even if you only initially intended to listen to a couple of picks.

The Pits is one of the most unique and safe listens to grace my inbox in a good while.  You could easy throw on The Pits in the secret of your bedroom or in a car ride with your aging parents and the enjoyment would be mutual.  While some might dismiss the disc’s sense of safety as track-to-track sameness, that would be ignoring how many cooperative forces are softly at work.  Rodeo Ruby Love knows their craft, and anyone who stands to enjoy soft-spoken alternative-indie should make a point of knowing them too.