Rips could only come from New York. Formed in 2013 and informed by bands like Television, The Feelies, Sonic Youth and The Strokes, Rips have made a record that sounds like “The Greatest Hits of NY”
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Difficult things, debut albums. You’ve only been together a short while and you’re full of ideas – some great, some…not so great. You’re young enough to still lovemusic and not be jaded by the industry that’ll probably roll over you like a tank. You write songs that sound a little (or a lot) like all your favourite bands, but you don’t care ‘cos they’re great songs and you love playing them and all your friends dance when you play them, too. One day, you find yourself in an airless basement, trying to get that barroom energy down on tape, or whatever the hell the digital equivalent of tape is. And that’s where it can all go wrong. Some debut records sound like everyone that made it was scared and uptight. Some sound naïve and raw and glorious. “Rips” sounds naïve and raw and glorious.
Rips could only come from New York. Formed in 2013 and informed by bands like Television, The Feelies, Sonic Youth and The Strokes, Rips have made a record that sounds like “The Greatest Hits of NY”.
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“Rips” has a great cover. A cool, “New Wave 1980” pastiche. So far so good, but we’ve all been burned by great looking records that sound like thrown together garbage, haven’t we? Don’t panic – track one, “Losing II” is just unbelievably good. Powered by the kind of juggernaut riff you can’t believe no one has recorded before, it’s this kind of noise that makes you think that guitar bands have a few more years of life left in them. One guitar knocks out the riff, the other explores the legacy of Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd. Bass and drums are so utterly locked together, it’s hard to see where one stops and the other begins. Excited yet?
“Losing II” is the best track on the album, but some of the others aren’t far behind. “Malibu Entropy” is cute and melodic and has a nice “Daydream Nation” vibe to it. In fact, there are lots of Sonic Youth-y touches to “Rips” – not the “jam drumsticks under the guitar strings and beat it with your fist” approach, but a great balance of noisy and melodic. “Break” channels the Strokes – straight ahead rhythm and an enigmatic vocal buried under layers of guitars. The band sound great – all those barroom gigs have paid off and there’s a real confidence in these performances. It’s been nicely produced by Austin Brown of Parquet Courts – loads of energy has been retained in the groove or whatever the hell the digital equivalent of a groove is.
Right now, Rips are the sum of their influences – this record is 20% Television, 20% Strokes, 20% Sonic Youth,10% Feelies, and 30% Rips. It’ll be interesting to see how those percentages fluctuate over the next couple of years. In 2017, the world needs a guitar band with brains that doesn’t suck. Right now, that’s almost Rips. Don’t let us down.
“Rips” is available now via Faux Discx. The albums track-listing is as follows…
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