The Ruby Suns
Sea Lion takes you on a “strange, lovely trip,” said Emily Mackay in New Musical Express. California native Ryan McPhun uprooted himself to Auckland, New Zealand, where he formed the Ruby Suns, and since their 2005 self-titled debut, the songwriter just can’t seem to stay put. McPhun has trekked to Africa, Thailand, and throughout the South Pacific, not only adding stamps to his passport but also broadening the band’s musical range. Sea Lion shows McPhun “wandering the world, capturing sounds on his Dictaphone, and stitching them into a patchwork quilt” of international noise and nuance. This is world music by way of indie pop, said Andrew Leahey in Billboard. While bands such as Yeasayer and Vampire Weekend adopt global styles, the Ruby Suns fully immerse themselves in foreign cultures. As a result, they’ve created an “aural melting pot.” The melodies burst with ethnic flavors from djembe drums to steel-string ukuleles. “Tane Mahuta” is sung entirely in the Polynesian dialect of the Maori people. But throughout this musical voyage, McPhun keeps stirring in sunny psych-pop that’s reminiscent of fellow Californian Brian Wilson. That “hard-charging positivity” keeps Sea Lion grounded, said Andrew Gaerig in Pitchforkmedia.com. The album “shines brightest when it stays closest to its indie rock roots,” proving that maybe there is no place like home.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why I'm a pro-life liberal
- He said he was leaving. She ignored him.
- 31 TV shows to watch in 2014
- 10 things you need to know today: April 17, 2014
- Why we can't stop procrastinating, according to science
- Israel and Russia are getting along. Have the neocons noticed?
- Why Holy Thursday is so important to Christians
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Texas has been holding this man hostage for 12,600 days
- These stunning travel photos remind us that we're all just amateurs with iPhones
Subscribe to the Week