Weird & dark. Odd & uncaring. Wonderful & loveable.
Okay, first things first, ‘I Used To Hate The Ruminaters, Now I Like Them’ is a bit of a bold statement for a title, isn’t it? Doing away with the small yet important fact that the name is a reference to their 2014 album, 'I Hate The Ruminaters', what if you as the listener had never heard of this Sydney indie/folk/surf rock outfit until just now? And what if you had heard the band’s music before and simply thought that it was utter shite? This title wouldn’t apply to you at all! Although, I do suppose that ‘Sorry That You Still Don’t Like Us’, ‘I Am Completely New To The Audible Experience That Is The Ruminaters’ or ‘Who The Actual Fuck Are The Ruminaters?' would have been poorer titles to use for their new offering. (Also, feel free to use either of those titles for your next release, lads).
Anyway, with all of that introductory nonsense aside, ‘I Used To Hate The Ruminaters, Now I Like Them’ is indeed one of the weirder indie releases you'll hear in 2016. Yet it’s one of the better indie releases by far! The Ruminaters new six-track EP acts like the 70’s and 80’s had never come to their thankful end, both in its stylistic approach, in its musical delivery, in its mix and production (this EP was recorded in various vintage studios around the world), and that is all to the betterment of ‘I Used To Hate The Ruminaters, Now I Like Them’.
The first track, ‘Psychopathic Brain Explosion’ is the messy, eccentric Triple J anthem that Foster The People never got around to writing. ‘Bad Bad Things’ is a slow acoustic jam that metamorphs naturally into an upbeat indie rock tune that is also surprisingly catchy, with its dynamic flow and accelerating tempos, all of which are underpinned by some rather odd and dark lyrics. ‘A Song For A Dandelion’ is an incredibly haunting, out-there piece with its restrained tempo, delay-heavy vocals, dark lead guitar moments, and the downright off-putting melodies it conjures up. ‘How Can I’ is the EP's "prettiest" song, lead by falsetto vocals, dreamy guitars, and sluggish drumming and it is just fucking beautiful. Fucking beautiful, I say! It's like a mid-set reverie for the band's live show; one that gets audience members hands swinging back and forth with lighters or phones in outstretched hands and is an immensely relaxing song all-around. ‘The Sunball Machine’ (which is where the name of band's self-owned label came from) lands very similar beats and vibes to that of 'How Can I' but ditches the high-register vocals in favour of idle, mid-range singing and it caps off the EP nicely, acting like the musical light at the end of the proverbial tunnel or like your first breath after laying in a really good musical coma. (Christ alive, that one is definitely up there with one of the weirder descriptions I've ever used in a review).
Finally, it's the relaxed and hazy ‘Mr. Bubbles’ that I can't stop thinking about, a song which was apparently named after the dead bunny rabbit of the band's bassist, Jarleth. Excluding the demise of band member pets, this is by far one of the most “situational” songs I’ve heard in 2016. What I mean by that is that it could be the soundtrack to an endless sunbaked afternoon in California, an artsy backpacking trip across the cold, grey landscapes of U.K. and Europe, the background music to someone's jogging route on a nice Spring day, or it could be the score to a child’s morning walk to school on a crisp Autumn morning, and so on in whatever other narrative this wondrous song may summon up for you personally. Now, if you couldn’t tell from that description, I believe this track to be the very best song of the entire EP, and it’s a track that shows just why you all need to have The Ruminaters in your life ASAP.
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Oh, what's that? You want a conclusion to wrap things up in a TL;DR fashion. Well, tough shit! I've said all I need to say about The Ruminaters weird yet wonderfully solid EP above. Look, all I'll say here is that if you're a fan of lo-fi indie, folk, surf rock or maybe even all three, then ‘I Used To Hate The Ruminaters, Now I Like Them’ should be right up your alley!
'I Used To Hate The Ruminaters, Now I Like Them' is out now, and you can pick it up here. Check out the video for ‘Bad Bad Things’ below, and I’ll be damned if it isn’t the best fucking music video of 2016, a video that finally makes good, creative use of this trending VR 360 format no less.