Ruby Haunt (who were just called haunt, but now have added a color to their name) is a west coast duo who make delicate pop music with a hint of electronicness to it. Blue Hour is their sixth release since 2015, and to be honest they have released another EP and a full album since this one, while i have struggled to keep up with writing reviews in a era of girlfriends, their children, and full time jobs.
So, Wyatt Ininns and Victor Pakpour are more productive than i can keep up with. And part of the reason for that is the lethargic nature of the music they make on Blue Hour makes me want to relax and spend time with it. Their music is in no hurry to get anywhere: it will get there when it gets there, so relax and enjoy the journey as drums taps lightly and piano and guitar meander under slow vocals.
It's a nice formula, and it makes Blue Hour a fun listen.
Sucker kicks off the album with a chugging percussion loop, like a tambourine shaken over and over. Some whooshing keyboards come in, and then a faint voice. The whole thing has a sort of lo-fi-ness to it. Not that it is poorly recorded, but rather that it is not as slickly produced as some music like this tends to be. The overall effect of this song is to remind me of Primitive Radio Gods.
Darling is brushed drums, a slow funky bass riff, and whispered voice. The tone of the bass and the general rhythm here reminds me of the last Portal EP, but the voice is very different, the hushed tone implying intimacy, like he is whispering secrets to you. This is a different vocalist than the previous tune, but i am not sure which voice is Ininns and which is Pakpour. Either way, this is a lovely tune.
The song is very sparse, mostly a tinkling piano riff and a melancholy voice. It's called Sorry, Sabrina and is my least favorite tune here.
Things pick back up for A Quiet Evening. This has a light picked guitar and some kind of trilling, hooting keyboard sound. The drums tap lightly, and the voice keeps repeating, "Nothing better than leaving". Very nice.
The bass shines on Non Sense, another simple rolling riff that pins the song down. Over this, he guitar sparkles, the voice mutters, and a bright, clear, piano plays. This is fun.
On the very lethargic Sanctuary, the voice reminds me of Ayo River. Otherwise, this song is a shining keyboard riff stolen from the 1980s, an organ drone, and tapped drums.
Demon bops along with tapped drums. And then we are at the title track, which is actually a short interlude of organ drone and street scene sounds: cars chugging by and voices talking in the distance. It seems vaguely Boards of Canada-ish to me.
And then we wrap things up with It Will Happen The Next Time Around. The organ drones and a voice sings, and then, after a while, drum and bass come in and the song bounces along under a happy little break beat. The first part, the organ part, something in the organ drone reminds me of Casino vs. Japan. This is a fun end to the record.
And in general this is a fun little record. The songs are unhurried and bounce along happily.
Something about this record kind of reminds me of Steely Dan, a band which my Deadhead girlfriend has gotten me into lately. There is a kind of lethargic, intellectualized pop thing going on in both bands. The music is complex, but seemingly simple. Or maybe it seems complex but is rather simple. Something like that.
Fun, at any rate.