Back in the day, The Ruts stood to the fore of the punk scene in sound, presence, and lyrical insight, an attack which evolved but never diminished as Ruts DC emerged from the sad death of still missed frontman Malcolm Owen. Two albums before and two after his passing provided an innovative and snarling voice for a generation and more before the band disbanded. Reforming for a benefit show for their guitarist Paul Fox, following his diagnosis of lung cancer and who died not long after, remaining members John ‘Segs’ Jennings (bass and vocals) and Dave Ruffy (drums) carried on and released the mighty Rhythm Collision Vol. 2, another glorious dub fuelled vat of diversity to echo the success of Vol.1. Now the band are poised to uncage a new tour-de-force in the shape of Music Must Destroy, a release, to get straight to the bottom line, which is quite possibly the finest rock ‘n’ roll album you are likely to be aroused by this year, maybe this decade.
Music Must Destroy is one glorious anthem made up of ten ear and imagination sparking proposals. Segs and Duffy with Leigh Heggarty have taken their time to write, hone, and step forward with their latest collection of songs but, aided by a host of guests such as Henry Rollins, Captain Sensible, Boz Boorer, Marco Pirroni, Jake Burns, Kirk Brandon, Tara Rez, and Paul Laventhol, have created another landmark in punk fuelled rock ‘n roll. The album’s variety of incitements sit somewhere between the raw challenge of The Ruts and the experimental exploits of Ruts DC, the band calling themselves The Ruts DC for the new offering suggesting the band came at the album from the same angle. The trio has explored their past and inspirations across the fan funded Music Must Destroy to create some of their most inspiring and fiercely addictive songs yet.
It all starts with recent single Psychic Attack, it alone a highly charged and intoxicating incitement to get greedy over. With a Damned like scent to its riffs, the song strides from its initial shimmer with imposing rhythms and one mouth-watering bassline. Within seconds the nagging riffs and Segs’ potent tones grip ears further, his words and expression getting as much under the skin as the twisting and turning character of the song itself.
Starting off a release with such a momentous moment would put a strain on many offerings from other bands, but The Ruts DC simply follow it up with matching peaks of imagination starting with the band’s upcoming new single and album’s title track. Featuring Henry Rollins, Music Must Destroy also makes its initial coaxing with rhythmic and repetitive guitar shared bait which needs mere seconds to get under the skin. Melodies and drama spread as the song expands its theatre of intent, group harmonies pure infection around Rollin’s call to arms before a chorus to stir armies pulls thoughts and spirit into the song’s galvanic prowl.
Surprise steps forward next carrying a broader rock air to invasive seduction. Like a blend of Ruts single West One (Shine on Me) and the sound of 999 at certain times, the track crawls over the senses, sweeping them up into another virulent chorus and nature before the highly emotive and haunting Second Hand Child takes over. This too infests body and emotions with ease, its poetic melodies and evocative vocals as magnetic as its sound with the dusty lure of The Duel’s Tara Rez’s voice extra temptation to be tempted by.
Soft City Lights is another recalling the early days of the band, its reflective melodies and shimmer infused in a smouldering embrace of evocative adventure and harmony. With rhythms casting darker shadows and intimidation, the track is aural alchemy and like those before it and indeed to come quite irresistible, a success emulated by the anthemic and predacious roar of Kill The Pain. A track which stalks the listener with a challenge in its voice as potent as the virulence in its infectious character, it too has bodies bouncing and attitude aflame.
The mellow seducing and evocative pleads of Peace Bomb follows, the song a Bolan-esque engagement showing more of the album’s diversity, variety continuing across the psychedelic shimmer and melodic jangle of Tears On Fire and the hard rock soaked exploits of The Vox Teardrop. It is impossible to pick a best track within Music Must Destroy but the first of the pair always features in first thoughts while its successor simply stirs blood and spirit each and every time.
The album concludes with Golden Boy, a poignant ballad seemingly inspired by the death of previous band mates and a captivation as powerful as anything before it with its heart offered vocals, emotionally charged melodies, and provocative strings.
The track is a breath-taking end to a simply electrifying rip roar of an album. Music Must Destroy has all the qualities and boldness expected of The Ruts/Ruts DC past and present. The guys might be a touch older than those early inspiring days but they still have the energy, snarl, and invention to provide something seriously special which can also spark a new generation.
Music Must Destroy is released September 16th via Westworld/Sosumi Recordings with the single/title track released September 9th.
Pete RingMaster 01/09/2016
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