Geodesic Records (label)
04 September 2018 (released)
11 September 2018
Stoked by the turbulent times we are living through these days, Houston post-punk band Ruiners' second full-length album is definable in one word: vital. Both in that it's bursting with feral, obstinate energy and that the themes raucously espoused by the group in their 'get outta my way, it's my turn to talk' style trade-off vocals, cut to the core with an essential spirit that is sorely needed here and now. The group follows up last year's Plebeian with another nine noisy numbers that often touch on the political and unleash a new depth of songwriting prowess, whipping up a frenzy with increased layers rather than just hammering the message home with a unified, unilateral attack.
'No' stands at the front of the record as an intransigent mission statement for the piece as a whole. Bracing chords traded off between guitarists Shan Pasha and Ian Hawkins stand as guards, pushing back against compliance with the rushing river of political will and spin. The angry shouts echo the inner thoughts of a nation: “Tuning in, I'm tuning out/Their voice is way too loud/I'm sick of these politics/I'm sick of this noise!”. The turbulent rhythm section of Wander and Erhardt thrusts out Ruiners' opening charge in a pummelling minute and forty-five seconds.
The first four tracks keep the fury up with alternating bouts of tense dissonance and demented catchiness. A model that keeps the intensity up without overloading the listener with unending angst in a Clockwork Orange torture type scenario. It's helpful to be able to laugh in the face of darkness, even if that laughter comes off like a kind of nervous tick. At the midway point of the record, the interlude track 'Nafrat' takes a momentary sonic step back while news soundbites, particularly concerning the Charlottesville attack on anti-white supremacist protestors and North Korean nuclear threats contextualize Typecast's central political motif and the human cost that comes along with it. The band strikes a regretful, contemplative note with hanging, suspended chords. A 'look at what we've become' vignette.
The closer 'Glowing' showcases the group's most evolved sensibilities. A Cobain style, charmingly off-tune clean intro gives way to more expansive chords spliced with a solo that is more malfunctioning siren than melodic guitar line. However, dark melodics take over and the band rides the wave through to the end in a groove that invokes Russian Circles moody masterpiece Memorial.
Typecast has got rage for days and energy to spare. A defining release by a group that has found their voice while they still have plenty of fight left in them. Leapfrogging off of songs like 'Nafrat' and 'Glowing' to incorporate deeper, moody passages could put Ruiners in a good position to put forward a new genre of progressive post-punk.