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Album Review: RIPS Self-Titled

In my feminist-minded DIY rock circuit, it’s easy to make fun of the plethora of “dude bands” making generic rock-n-roll. The gluttony of all these bands frantically snorting any dust that may fall from the Strokes boots while only rarely making good on their promise of Effortless Rockstar Cool. But with their debut self-titled album RIPS manage to make sounding timeless not sound boring. On RIPS they pull off referencing 70’s New York punk and new wave while making it feel effortless, unstudied, and fun. The guitar solos, instead of standing starkly demanding we pay homage to technical prowess, charmingly crawl over each other in their excitement. These are songs that any bar-goer in New York would nod their head along to, and are a good advertisement for the band’s live show. Songs like “Break” remind me why I like rock n roll in the first place. I live for the Lou Reed vocals and fuzzy guitar shredding on “Delay.” Songs like “Malibu Entropy” take things in a more sparkly, psychedelic direction.

Listening to this album, I get visions of drinking 40s (or Peach-o-Rita’s in my case) on city rooftops or of running through the streets drunk when I should be working on job applications. There’s a loneliness in this kind of behavior, a searching for solace that our 9-to-5 grinds don’t give us. Despite their sense of fun, RIPS get this feeling too. It comes through clearest on “Safe Room”, an existential anthem that opens with “I’m searching for the feeling/I’m searching for the reason.” Parquet Courts’ Austin Brown, who produced the record, manages to wring out a similar sense of profundity here as he does in his own band’s tales of stoned bodega runs. There’s a comfort to this kind of music, even if it doesn’t provide the answers to Life’s Big Questions. Yes all the songs kind of sound the same (except for the mellow “Psychics”), and it’s tough to pay attention to anything the band is actually saying, but the vibe is right. At the very least it’s enough to drown out the bros guffawing loudly out of the sports bars in the East Village. Fans of indie rock slackerdom should check it out.

RIPS is out now. RIPS are playing a record release show on July 1st at Baby’s All Right. Tickets and Info here.

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